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Vietnam War Vessel to be Repaired, Preserved Thanks to Public-Private Partnership

asmith Mar 07, 2013

pbrOne of the nation’s last remaining MK1 River Patrol Boats (PBR) will be getting a facelift thanks to a dedicated team of professionals who have partnered with Patriots Point to donate their time, expertise and funding to transport, repair and repaint the historic vessel.

Patriots Point’s MK1 PBR first arrived to the museum in 1989.  In 1993, Patriots Point opened the Vietnam Naval Support Base Camp – a true-to-scale exhibit that shows the operational and living areas of a U.S. Naval Advanced Tactical Support Base (ATSB) during the Vietnam War. Nearly 25 years of exposure to the elements have taken a toll on the historic boat and she is in need of repair.

This month, volunteers will remove the PBR from its current location at Patriots Point, hoisting the boat onto a trailer that will transport it to Pierside Boatworks for repairs. The team will remove old paint, conduct fiberglass repairs, prime and repaint the boat, and install new canvas before returning the PBR to Patriots Point’s Vietnam Support Base.

The month-long project – estimated to cost $30,000 – would not be possible without generous support from Allstate Crane (crane), Big Dog Marine (boat hauling), Interlux (bottom paint), Engineered Marine Coatings (topside paint), Reg Brown (canvas), The Royal Touch Marine Services (lettering), West Marine (parts and supplies) and Pierside Boatworks (labor).

“I was asked by Patriots Point staff to come over and develop an estimate for the repairs to the PBR boat,” said Dave Coker, General Manager at Pierside Boatworks and one of the leaders of this project. “Once I saw it and listened to staff explain the lengthy process to get public funding, I was hoping to get some of it donated to lessen the task of raising the money. That sparked the idea of getting our yard and our suppliers involved in a community project. What better way to show our appreciation for our veterans than to fix up a part of their history.  We will all feel good at the end of the day for our efforts.”

“We are extremely grateful for the generous initiative of Pierside Boatworks and their team,” said Patriots Point Executive Director Mac Burdette. “With only one other MK1 PBR remaining in the United States, it is especially important that we preserve this vessel, which played a significant role in our nation’s military history.”

“As we look to the future of Patriots Point, we look forward to the PBR playing a significant role,” Burdette continued. “We are currently in the process of developing a master plan for a new and exciting “Vietnam Experience” at our museum and the MK1 PBR will be the centerpiece.”

About PBRs

PBRs saw action during Vietnam – from 1965 through 1971 – as the US Navy supported ground troops and counterinsurgency operations along a vast network of waterways.  The primary mission of the “Brown Water Navy” was to block the movement of insurgents and their supplies into and within South Vietnam.  This included keeping sea lanes open to Saigon, boarding and inspecting watercraft, intercepting gun runners and supplies to the Viet Cong, and conducting psychological operations.

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6 thoughts on “Vietnam War Vessel to be Repaired, Preserved Thanks to Public-Private Partnership

  1. David Wilkinson says:

    it’s good to see another mark1 repaired. I helped on the one in Little Creek.

  2. Bruce Cullen says:

    Hello: I had contacted the director regarding PBR 105 last year after visiting Patriots Point and seeing the condition of the boat. I really felt bad at the time and expressed my concerns throughout the PBR community. Basically it amounted to money and trying to find the volunteers, myself and Butch Jarvinen a former PBR boat Captain did our best to get er done…but we were hitting a brick wall. I am so glad to hear the good news that she will be repaired and proudly represent the PBR sailors from Vietnam, and the US Navy. I was a boat captain as well but on a Tango Boat with RIVDIV 91. Looking forward to seeing the PBR 105 soon.
    Best Regards,
    Bruce Cullen
    Maryville, IL

  3. Clark Gertner, GMCS (SWCC/FPJ), Retired says:

    I first saw pix of this MKI late last year and was saddened to see that it had been left out in the elements to deterioriate, so I am very pleased that she is being restored. I am outside the US but will make a point of visiting on my next trip home.

  4. Doyle D. Hensley says:

    I was a Boat Captain in 1967, 1968, and part of 1969 and was assigned to River Patrol Section 513. I paid a visit to Patriots Point last year and cried when I saw the shape of the MK. I. They had painted the boat haze gray and it was very disturbing to me. I am really glad that they are now going to get the 105 in good shape and hopefully painted the correct color. I am going to revisit Patriots Point this in the early fall of this year. WELOCOM HOME TO ALL MY BROTHERS !

  5. G. Smith says:

    It’s great to see another MK1 PBR Getting restored. I don’t see the Boat Number on the stern? What boat is it? I served on PBR’s 1968/68 at Tan Chau & Ta Nin. This boat is not the last MK1 in the USA. I have the MK1 PBR 120 boat in my yard. It also needs restoring. Thanks to all those who are helping with saving her.

    1. John McClurg says:

      I see from your comments that you have a MK I PBR (PBR 120) in your yard for repairs and restoration. How are you coming with that and where did you acquire the boat. Could you provide me with your address and phone number , so I can enter the information on your boat in our PBR Directory for the US. I am the owner of a MK II PBR that is currently being restored in Michigan. What River Division were you in at Tay Ninh?

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