US Navy Museum - Swift Boat
Bill Maloney

01SwiftBoat 02 Swift Boat 03 PFC-1 04DroopyBrowningM2
01 Swift Boat 02 Swift Boat 03 PFC-1 04 Droopy Browning M2 Machine Gun
05PCF-1 Upper 50 Caliber Gun Tub 05Upper50CalTurret 06SternSacraficialAnode 07SwiftBoatStern
05 PCF-1 Upper 50 Caliber Gun Tub 05 PCF-1 Upper 50 Caliber Turret 06 PCF Sacrificial Anode 07 Swift Boat Stern
08SwiftBoatPropellers 09 Swift Boat 10 PCF-1 11 Patrol Craft Fast-1
08 Swift Boat PCF MkI Propellers 09 Patrol Craft Fast Bow View 10 Patrol Craft Fast Bow View 11 Patrol Craft Fast-1
12 Patrol Craft Fast      
12 Patrol Craft Fast

Swift Boat - PCF Patrol Craft Fast Specifications:

Length: 51 feet 1 inches
Beam: 13 feet 6 inches
Draught: 5 feet 10 inches
Crew: 1 officer and 6 crewmen
Displacement: 35 tons
Max Speed: 32kts (35mph)
Fuel Capacity: 830 gallons diesel
Range: 540 miles at 13kts
 One 81mm Mortar Mk2
 3 Browning 50Cal M2 Machine Guns
Hull Construction: 1/4" Aluminum Alloy
Power Plant: 2 General Motors 12V71 N Marine Diesel Engines 450hp each driving 2 screws
Launching Date: 1965

This Swift Boat is a Mark I and one of only two on display in the United States. This example is PCF-1, the first in the production line (PCF stands for Patrol Craft Fast). The second of these boats on display in the United States is PCF-104 which was found in a US Navy salvage yard in Bangor Washington. It was rescued through the efforts of SBSA members and has been restored and is now on display Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, California. It looks like you will need to make arrangements in advance to enter the Naval Amphibious Base as security precautions are especially tight.

A third craft, PCF-2 was donated to the Tidewater Community College in 1996. That PCF was stripped of its armament and refitted for civilian use and is now used actively as a scientific research vessel. The College renamed PCF-2 "R/V Matthew F. Maury" and the craft is stationed at Norfolk Marina, Virginia. Several other Swift Boats are still in service with the Thailand Naval forces. This is the same type of patrol craft that senator John Kerry served aboard during his tour of duty in Vietnam.

I initially thought this particular Swift Boat mounted a single Browning 50 caliber M2 Heavy Machine Gun in the upper gun tub, but a couple of visitors pointed out there are actually two. Also period photos from the 1960s show twin Browning M2s in that position. I think they may be wooden reproductions. The details look good, but the barrel of the aft Browning M2 is drooping noticeably. The silver gray objects you see mounted on the stern of the PCF are sacrificial anodes. They help reduce the rate corrosion of the aluminum hull. The sacrificial anodes are a zinc/aluminum alloy and corrode much faster than the metal and steel parts of the craft, slowing the deterioration of the rest of the hull.

For a good (although small in size) selection of period photos of these patrol boats in action in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, visit the Swift Boat Sailor's Association homepage, and navigate to the Member's Photographs page.

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