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Vietnam Veterans Day
March 29, 2021
We will offer free admission to Vietnam veterans and their immediate families on March 29, National Vietnam War Veterans Day. March 29 is a fitting choice for a day honoring Vietnam veterans. It was chosen to be observed in perpetuity as March 29, 1973 was the day the United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam was disestablished and also the day the last U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam. Around this same day, Hanoi released the last of its acknowledged prisoners of war.
The Vietnam War lasted longer than a decade and resulted in the death of more than 58,000 U.S. troops. A display aboard the USS Yorktown features replica dog tags for each of the 896 South Carolinians who were killed. Unfortunately, because of social distancing efforts, we are unable to host our normal memorial ceremony as we have for many years inside our Vietnam Experience (VE) Exhibit. This is the second time we’ve had to make this difficult decision. We plan to bring back the ceremony on March 29, 2022. However, as a part of our commitment to honoring Vietnam Veterans this March, we hope to restore the Mark 1 Patrol Boat (PBR), which is a major part of the VE. You can help bring her back to life by donating to the USS Yorktown Foundation’s campaign to raise the $15,000 needed for the restoration.
The PBR was a versatile boat with a fiberglass hull and water jet drive, which enabled it to maneuver in shallow, weed-choked rivers during the Vietnam War. The 31’ river patrol boat and its crew were used to stop and search river traffic in South Vietnam and were an integral element of the “Brown Water Navy.”
Patriots Point’s PBR usually floats in a lagoon as part of the Vietnam Experience Exhibit, which opened in 2014. Over the last few years, nature has taken its toll, and the boat needs some repair. The following list is an outline of the work that will be done to preserve the vessel.
* Fiberglass repair throughout the entire vessel, emphasis on areas below the waterline
* Removal of hull fittings so that the hull can be free of penetrations that could lead to leaks
* Replacement of canopy frame and canvas
* Replacement of rotten decking
* Improvement of rainwater mitigation
* Repair and replace armor plating
* Sanding and repainting of boat
* Restoration of deck hardware and fittings
* Repairs to mast and radar dome
* Improvement of bilge systems