Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument
The Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument was funded by private contributions and was built by veterans to honor those Navy and Coast Guard sailors who died in Vietnam, in the air, at sea, on inland waters, ashore and in POW camps.
Prior to September 11, 2001 visitors to the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado would be allowed on base just to see the small boat display. Since that time, security has been at very high levels. Currently, persons without a Department of Defense ID card and base sticker must be escorted by someone who has these forms of identification. Advance arrangements must be made for escort of non-DOD personnel to visit the Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument.
Location of Vietnam Era Swift Boats
Of the one-hundred-fifteen Swift Boats (104-Mark I, 3-Mark II, and 8-Mark III) produced for service in South East Asia, six (6) were diverted for use by the Philippine Navy, nine (9) were retained for crew training at either Coronado or Mare Island and six were lost to either enemy fire or weather conditions before the remaining ninety-four were turned over by US Forces to the Vietnamese Navy in 1969 and 1970. The disposition and/or location of the Vietnamese and Philippine boats are unknown at this time. They probably outlived their usefulness to their new owners and have either been scrapped or lie dormant in some out of the way place. Of the nine training boats, one was lost in a weather related accident, three have found their way to continued useful purposes for the last thirty-five plus years, and two are currently on display as memorials on either coast of the United States.
Two of the Mark I Swifts used in training, PCF1 and PCF2, were discovered in disrepair in Panama in 1994. They were returned to the United States and restored by the Navy.
PCF1 was installed on cradles in front of the US Navy Yard in Washington DC. PCF2 was donated to the Tidewater Community College where she continues service as the renamed Research Vessel Matthew F. Maury conducting oceanographic data collection throughout Chesapeake Bay and the Hampton Roads areas.
The two Mark III training boats were transferred to the Armed Forces of Malta in 1971 as part of the United State’s military assistance program where they have been, and still continue after so many years, to be an important and integral part of that country’s active interdiction and prosecution of the contraband and illegal immigration routes crossing the Mediteranean Sea from Africa to Southern Europe. These tough little boats have been well taken care of by the Maltese sailors and proudly and with great success continue the extremely useful tasks and traditions that were established by their US Navy antecedents.
The son of Swift Boat Sailors Association member Neil Geis discovered another of the Mark I training boats in a salvage yard on US Navy property in Bangor Washington. After some lengthy negotiations to take possession of this boat, it was transported via semi-tractor trailer to the US Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, California. Using donated funds and volunteer labor of SBSA personnel, PCF-104 (the boat’s original designation) was restored to pristine condition and took its rightful place beside the PBR and Command Control boats of the Riverine Forces as part of the joint Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument and Wall undertaken to honor all of the US Navy, US Coast Guard and Vietnamese sailors that served and sacrificed during the South East Asia conflict.
One of the significant features of the PCF-104 memorial craft and Vietnam Unit Memorial is the assembled montage and mural of all the Swift Boat sailors that failed to return from service in the conflict and are considered “still on patrol” Please visit this view of these brave sailors and the honored place they have in SBSA’s most treasured memorial.