Jump to content

PG Patrol Gunboats - Vietnam war era Navy PG patches


Recommended Posts


Today I want to post some Vietnam era Patrol Gunboat patches from my collection.I want to add right away that not all the Patrol Gunboats served in Nam,

I will add a brief history of each Gunboat for the patches that I post.

Now to the boats.The Patrol Gunboats were an interesting part of our Navy.

There were seventeen of them in the "Asheville" class.They were,fast,lethal ships capable of going into shallow areas,such as some of the rivers of Southeast Asia

during the Vietnam war.Larger than the PBR's used by fellow sailors,these Gunboats could pack a very big punch in a fight,and helped tremendously in the war effort.


First up is the USS Gallup,probably my favorite Gunboat patch,I love their motto"Have guns will travel"Also,is is my imagination,or do the front legs on the horse

resemble guns! ^_^


Patch appears to be made in Japan.


Link to comment
Share on other sites






USS Gallup (PG-85)

Gallup was built in Tacoma, Washington by the Tacoma Boat Building Company. On 15 June 1965, Mrs. Goodwin Chase, the ship’s sponsor, started her down the ways with the traditional bottle of champagne. The ship was named after the city of Gallup, New Mexico, the home of the world-famous Inter-tribal Indian Ceremonial. There has been one previous USS Gallup in the U. S. Navy, the PF-47, commissioned on 29 February 1944. In October 1951, the original Gallup was transferred to the Thailand Navy and renamed TACHIN, still in active service in the Gulf of Siam. The USS Gallup(PG-85) was commissioned on 22 October 1966 in ceremonies at the Tacoma Municipal Pier. The commissioning speaker was Rear Admiral W. A. BROCKETT, USN (RET), former Chief of the Bureau of Ships. Upon commissioning, the Gallup reported to Commander Amphibious Group THREE, for training and evaluation.


Gallup arrived in the Republic of Viet Nam 30 April 1967. Gallup thus became the first PG to enter the war zone. Having arrived in Danang from Cam Ranh on 13 July, Gallup was ordered by CTF 115.1 to get underway the following morning to assist in the interdiction of a suspected enemy trawler. After transferring CTG 115.1 to USS WILHOITE (DER- 397) at 2030 Gallup took station 10 mile southeast of the trawler in the vicinity of Cape Batangan. Operating on turbine, Gallup closed to 5 miles and opened fire. Approximately twenty hits were scored on the targets causing the trawler to run aground at the mouth of the Quang Ngai River and start to burn.


Gallup proceeded to search junks in the area during the night and to patrol In the immediate vicinity until the trawler was towed by away that afternoon. One million rounds of ammunition, three thousand rifles and numerous explosive devices were captured with the trawler. As a result of this action all officers and the mount captains were recommended for the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and the ship was recommended for the Navy Unit Citation.


November 1972 was quite rewarding for Gallup. It was during this time that Gallup learned that she had been nominated as the PHIBPAC representative for the ARLEIGH BURKE Fleet Trophy and also the PHIBPAC Personnel Excellence Award. This was a first for a ship in the PG Fleet. After an illustrious career, Gallup was decommissioned on 31 January 1977 in San Diego, CA.



Here is some info regarding attacks upon the the Gallup in Vietnam:


USS GALLUP PG-85 Attack 23 Aug 1970:

USS GALLUP (PG-85) while anchored just west of SEAFLOAT was attacked bya team of VC swimmer sappers.

The roving skimmer watch detected 3 sappers 15 yards off the bow.

The swimmers were forced to the surface by a concussion grenade blast and 1 was shot by the forecastle watch.

The other 2 disappeared below the surface after being grenaded a half-dozen times.

The ship weighed anchor immediately and saturated the area with concussion grenades.

A few days later 2 bodies were recovered where GALLUP had been anchored.

The body of the shot VC was not recovered.




Also,a pic of the Gallup



Link to comment
Share on other sites


Next,the Antelope.Patch appears to be made in Japan.






USS Antelope (PG-86)

USS Antelope (PG-86) was built by Tacoma Boatbuilding Company, Tacoma, Washington, and commissioned in November, 1967. It was the third ship of the Asheville Class of Patrol Gunboats. Antelope was one of two Patrol Gunboats fitted with the MK-87 Fire Control System, a highly sophisticated, track-while-scan, digital fire control radar which controlled both the 3 inch gun mount and, later, the RIM-66B STANDARD surface-to-surface missile system.


The emblem of Patrol Gunboat 86 pictures the stag pronghorn antelope, a native of our country’s western plains. The pronghorn is known for his great speed, agility, and constant watchfulness, and thus, epitomizes these admirable qualities in ANTELOPE and the men who man her. The motto "Keeping the Watch" draws a parallel between the vigilance of this noble animal and the vigilance of all mariners.


Initially homeported in Guam, Antelope participated in operations in South Viet Nam and was involved in the sinking of a large North Vietnamese trawler in south Vietnamese territorial waters April 11.


The approximately 160-foot enemy vessel was intercepted while heading toward shore near the South China coast in the lower Ca Mau Peninsula, 175 miles southwest of Saigon. Antelope together with the Vietnamese Navy motor patrol gunboat HQ-619 challenged the trawler. The trawler refused to surrender and attempted to evade.


After warning shots were fired by Antelope, the enemy trawler opened fire while trying to escape. U.S. Coast Guard high endurance cutters Rush and Morgenthau then moved into position to provide support with their five-inch guns.


The incident later broke into a surface action as the trawler continued to exchange fire with the U.S. and Vietnamese ships. "Black Pony" OV-10 aircraft from Light Attack Squadron Four aided the allied ships with rocket and machine gun attacks on the enemy boat. Eventually the enemy trawler exploded and disappeared from radar screens.



Antelope before conversion to missiles.


Antelope subsequently changed homeports to Long Beach, CA. Assigned to Commander, Coastal Division Thirty Two, headquartered in San Diego, Antelope began a major conversion and overhaul at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard, which included the installation of two box launchers, each containing two STANDARD RIM-66B surface-to-surface missiles, and integration into the MK-87 Fire Control System. Following successful system testing on the Pacific Missile Range, Antelope departed Long Beach in July, 1972 for Little Creek VA and, ultimately, her new homeport of Naples, Italy.



Antelope after conversion to missiles.


Antelope departed Little Creek in company with USS Graham County (AGP-1176), a bow-door LST which had recently been converted to serve as a Patrol Gunboat tender and support ship. She arrived in Naples in September, 1972, joining USS Defiance (PG-95) and USS Surprise (PG-97), also homeported in Naples, but not fitted with surface-to-surface missiles.



Good things come in small packages!


Antelope became an element of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, attached to Patrol Division Twenty One, conducting numerous operations, usually serving as Orange Forces simulating Soviet anti-ship missile platforms during Sixth Fleet exercises. Other notable operations included joint operations with Greek fast patrol boats, an initial "show the flag" visits to La Maddalena Sardinia in advance of the homeporting of a submarine tender and nuclear submarines, and a port visit to Split, Yugoslavia while it was still a Communist country. Antelope joined other Sixth Fleet forces in extended real world operations, patrolling Eastern Mediterranean waters during the Jordanian Crisis in October, 1973.


Antelope and her sister ship Ready returned to Little Creek in July 1977 and on 01 October, 1977 were decommissioned. Former Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr., who had been instrumental in the missile conversion and forward deployment of the Patrol Gunboat, was the guest speaker. Antelope was subsequently transferred to the Environmental Protection Agency, renamed Oceanographic Survey Vessel (OSV) Peter W. Anderson and is now homeported in Annapolis MD.


A special Thank-you and "BRAVO ZULU" to Captain David A. Spriggs, USNR, for providing this information on the USS Antelope . Captain Spriggs was assigned to the USS Ready as Engineering Officer from September, 1971 until June, 1972. At that time, he assumed duties as Executive Officer / Operations Officer until October, 1973.


Narrative and photos provided by Dave Donaldson.




Some info regarding attacks made against the Antelope during the Vietnam war:


USS Antelope PG-86 Attacks 5 Apr 1970:

USS ANTELOPE (PG-86) while returning to SEAFLOAT came under a VC rocket attack on the Cua Lon.

6 B-40 rockets were launched from less than 100 yards away.

Ship sustained minimal material damage and no personnel casualties.


USS Antelope PG-86 Attacks 4 May 1970:

USS ANTELOPE (PG-86) while anchored 1000 yards west of SEAFLOAT, at 0100 an explosion was felt on the starboard side amidships.

A 5-inch hole was made in the main deck.

Damage probably resulted from a satchel charge launched or catapulted from the north bank of the river.

No interior damage or personnel casualties resulted.


USS Antelope PG-86 Attacks 9 May 1970:

USS ANTELOPE (PG-86) while proceeding down river on the Cua Lon, came under a 6 B-40 rocket ambush from the north bank of the river.

No hits or material damage or personnel casualties resulted from this attack.



An Antelope pic



Link to comment
Share on other sites


Next,the USS Tacoma


Patch appears to be made in Japan







USS Tacoma PG-92





This photograph of USS TACOMA was provided by Terry Eccleston, a former USS TACOMA Gunners Mate. Terry was on board TACOMA from February, 1974 until August, 1977. He is now a Gunners Mate Senior Chief Petty Officer (Surface Warfare) in the Naval Reserves. He resides in Palm Harbor, Florida.


USS TACOMA (PG-92) was the first Patrol Gunboat of the TACOMA Class. These ships represented a radical departure from previous standards of naval design. The were the Navy's first large all aluminum and fiberglass ships, and the first commissioned ships to utilize a marine adaptation of a gas turbine for high speed propulsion.


Extensive utilization of various patrol craft in the Tonkin Gulf and in the coastal waters of Vietnam underscored the need for small, fast ships capable of delivering lethal firepower not only in deep water but also in coastal regions. The PG was a major advance in the U. S. small combatant program, born with the increasing awareness that the United States had lagged in the development of a class of fast, potent, seaworthy ships, smaller than the destroyer. These ships were the forerunners of today's gas turbine powered, hydrofoil and missile equipped patrol boats and ships.


TACOMA was the fourth U. S. Naval vessel to bear the name TACOMA. Built by Tacoma Boat Building Company of Tacoma, Washington, her keel was laid on 24 July, 1967. Following commissioning on 14 July, 1969, TACOMA joined the Pacific Fleet Amphibious Forces as part of Coastal Squadron Three. TACOMA was home ported in Guam in August of 1970 and made several deployments to the Republic of Vietnam where she made extensive patrols in the coastal waters. In December, 1972 TACOMA became one of the last gunboats to conduct a wartime patrol in Vietnam. In early 1973 TACOMA operated with the units of the SEVENTH Fleet before entering Naval Ship Repair Facility, Guam for regular overhaul. During the remainder of 1973 TACOMA operated out of Guam making patrols of the Trust Territory of Micronesian Islands. TACOMA began 1974 with a three month good will tour of Southeast Asian countries. In July, 1974, TACOMA became a unit of the SECOND Fleet under Coastal River Squadron TWO. TACOMA arrived in her new home port at Little Creek, Virginia on Labor Day, 1974.


Each command within the U.S. Navy is authorized to display an emblem and motto symbolic of its mission. The officers and men of TACOMA have selected a crest designed by Miss Arlou M. Hunter of Seattle to carry on this tradition. The main figure in the crest is Tyee, Chinook chieftan, who is performing a ceremonial dance with lightning bolts, symbols of speed and power. His right hand holds a "La Lash", Chinook jargon for tomahawk and a mark of striking power. Behind Tyee is Mt. Rainier. The Chinooks called Mt. Rainier "Tahoma" (from which Tacoma is derived) or "that nearest heaven." The three evergreen trees symbolize the three graces of faith, hope, and charity. The outer design of the crest is an arrowhead, the basic utensil of existence for the Chinook Tribe. Encircling the crest is a nautical chain, one link for each member of the crew. The motto, "Klahowya Kopachuck" is a Chinook wish, "greetings for travelers upon the water." Speed - Power - Might - appropriate symbols for the character and function of a PG.


The Tacoma had 2 crests. The following information was provided by Edward (Ted) Fox. Thanks, Ted, for the information.


"I was the Engineering Officer aboard Tacoma from May 1972 to May 1974. The second crest was the result of a contest we held on board sometime in 1973. I believe it was one of the boatswains mates who designed it. We had to change the crest because some woman from Tacoma complained to her congressman that the first one degraded Indians"


Following a regular overhaul and refresher training, TACOMA started her new mission as a training ship for Naval Reserve Personnel, serving alongside TACOMA's nucleus crew. USS TACOMA (PG-92) was decommissioned on 30 Sep, 1981 and transferred to the Columbian Navy on 01 May, 1983.


On 12 November, 1997, I received a letter from Mr. T. L. Valmas, Assistant Editor of Amyntika (Defense Affairs), a Greek-Language monthly magazine and a member of the U. S. Naval Institute. He noticed our Reunion Announcement in the October Issue of Proceedings and passed on the following information.


The Greek Navy now has custody of the former USS BEACON, {ORMI P-229} and USS GREEN BAY, {TOLMI P-230}). These ships were transferred to the Greek Navy in 1989 and following a maintenance period, became operational in 1990. The Gas Turbines have been removed and the ships are used for patrol duties in the Aegean Sea. Also in service with the Turkish Navy is the former USS SURPRISE {BORA P-339} which was transferred in 1973. The Turkish Navy also had custody of USS DEFIANCE {YILDIRIM} which was lost in an explosion off the Greek Island of Mitelene, in the NE Aegean Sea in 1985. The Colombian Navy had custody of USS WELCH and USS TACOMA (click here for info on ARC QUITASUENO), and has since transferred them to Customs. The South Korean Navy had custody of USS BENICIA, and has since decommissioned it. I will provide additional information if it becomes available. I will also include photographs of the ship as they become available.


Original narrative and photos provided by Dave Donaldson, updated by Terry W. McManuels.



A pic of the Tacoma,and a second version of her patch,this one is not in my collection.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


The USS Surprise


Patch looks to be made in Japan





USS Surprise PG-97

Narrative and photos provided by Dave Donaldson




Each command within the U.S. Navy is authorized to display an emblem and motto symbolic of its mission. mission. Carrying on in this tradition the crew of the Surprise has selected a design by one of her own members, EM1 Luis Arenas. The emblem features an eagle perched atop a trident and shield, with lightning bolts grasped in one claw. The eagle and lightning bolts are symbolic of the ship’s motto, "Swift and Lethal," while the trident is the traditional symbol of sea power. The motto is descriptive of the mission and capabilities of the PG-92 class ship. The national colors, red, white, and blue, are employed as the color scheme of the emblem.


As a vessel name, SURPRISE has spanned nearly two centuries of U. S. Naval history; beginning with the Continental Cutter SURPRISE built in the mid 1770's and put into service on 1 March 1777 by the Continental Congress. The second SURPRISE was a Continental Sloop, also purchased and put into service in 1777. The third ship of this name, a heavily armed ketch, was built and stationed in New Orleans in 1815. The fourth SURPRISE, a forerunner in type as well as name, was built in England in 1942 and was put into service immediately as a convoy escort and submarine patrol boat. USS SURPRISE (PG-63) made an outstanding record for herself in her three years of service, most of which took place in the Caribbean Sea Frontier.


USS SURPRISE (PG-97), the fifth ship of the U. S. Navy to bear this name, is an ASHEVILLE/ TACOMA-Class patrol gunboat endowed with revolutionary power, speed, and maneuverability. The ship has an overall length of 165 feet with a 24-foot beam and displaces approximately 250 tons. Power is provided for the ship by two variable-pitched propellers which are driven by a combination of two diesels at cruising speeds and a gas turbine engine at high speeds. The ship is armed with a single 3-inch .50 caliber rapid-fire gun; one 40-mm gun; and, two twin .50 caliber machine guns.


SURPRISE and patrol gunboats of her new class were well suited for operations in the Cold War era. Her speed, maneuverability, and shallow draft enabled her to work close to enemy shores in support of counterinsurgency, guerrilla and conventional amphibious warfare operations. The interdiction of shipping, blockading harbors, and control of large areas of enemy coastline fell within her capabilities.


SURPRISE was built by Peterson Builders, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Her keel was laid on 24 May, 1968, she was launched on 7 December, 1968 and commissioned on 17 October, 1969 and decommissioned 28 February 1973 at Izmir, Turkey.


The SUPRISE was transferred to the Turkish Navy 28 February 1973; renamed BORA P-339 and stricken from the US Naval Register 8 August 1987 in Turkish custody. Click here for a picture and description of the Turkish Naval Vessel BORA P-339. A larger image can be found by clicking here.


Narrative and photos provided by Dave Donaldson.



A pic of the USS Surprise


Link to comment
Share on other sites


The USS Beacon


Patch appears to be made in Japan





First US navy ship to bear the name and named for Beacon, New York. Commissioned 22 November 1969 at Boston MA. and decommissioned 22 April 1977 at Little Creek VA and placed in reserve. After more than 12 years in reserve at the Atlantic Fleet Inactive Ship Facility, Portsmouth, Virginia, she was finally transferred to the Greek Navy on 22 November 1989, and her name was struck from the Navy list in June 1990. Renamed Ormi (P-230), the gunboat remained in Greek service through 1995.


Each command within the U.S. Navy is authorized to display an emblem and motto symbolic of its mission. mission. BEACON’s ship’s seal, or insigne, and motto are focal points of the spirit and being of the ship. The Nike figure is symbolic of grace, victory, and speed - all attributes of the Patrol Gunboat. The Triton represents maritime power, while the crew’s attitude is condensed in Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat - Fortune Favors the Brave.


USS BEACON (PG-99), USS GREEN BAY (PG-1O1) and USS HARLAN COUNTY (LST-1196) became the first ships in the Navy to officially fly the 1775 Navy Jack in celebration of the bicentennial. The jack was raised at noon following the 21 gun salute announcing the arrival of President Ford at the Navy's 200th Birthday ceremony held at Admiral Leutze Park, Washington Navy Yard, 9 October 1975.


Narrative and photos provided by Dave Donaldson, updated by Terry W. McManuels.



Pic of Beacon


Link to comment
Share on other sites


The USS Grand Rapids


Patch appears to be made in the USA






The second Navy ship to bear the name and is named for Grand Rapids, Michigan. Commissioned 5 September 1970 at Tacoma WA. and decommissioned 1 October 1977 at Little Creek VA. Transferred to the David Taylor Naval Research and Development Center Annapolis MD. Renamed RV (Research Vessel) ATHENA II Presently in custody of Carderock Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, US Navy at Panama City Beach FL.


Each command within the U.S. Navy is authorized to display an emblem and motto symbolic of its mission. mission. GRAND RAPIDS’ ship’s seal, or insigne, is dominated by the figure of a sea lion, a mythical beast having the head, chest, and shoulders of a lion, with webbed claws, and the lower body of a dolphin. This heraldic combination signifies the union of leonine strength and courage with the seagoing speed and facility of a marine creature. The olive branch which he holds in his left claw is the traditional symbol of peace. Its seventeen leaves stand for the seventeen Patrol Gunboats which the Navy will eventually have, of which GRAND RAPIDS is the sixteenth. In his right claw, the sea lion grasps a banner, colored green to denote alertness, which bears the ship’s motto, "Omnis spes salutis in virtute." These words may be translated, "All hope of safety rests in courage," and were one of Caesar’s common exhortations to his troops in time of duress. An unbroken rope around the seal symbolizes the unifying influence among shipmates of a common mission and esprit de corps.


During 1973 there were three major changes to USS GRAND RAPIDS (PG-98); change of command, change of mission and change of homeport. The first occurred on 9 February 1973, when Lieutenant Gordon H. RHEINSTROM, relieved Lieutenant Charles F. VOTAVA, III as Commanding Officer. The change of command took place at long Beach Naval Shipyard. Lieutenant RHEINSTROM was in command for the remainder of 1973.


The change in mission area occurred as a result of the ships outfitting with a surface to surface missile capability. While at Long Beach Naval Shipyard during late 1972 and early 1973 the ARM version of the Standard Missile was installed.


The third change in command organization came as a result of a homeport shift from San Diego, California to Naples, Italy. The change was effective on 7 May 1973 and was completed on 13 August 1973.


The operations of USS GRAND RAPIDS during 1973 were far ranging and highly varied. The ship began the year in Long Beach Naval Shipyard where she had been undergoing an extensive overhaul and conversion since l October 1972. The ship completed the shipyard availability two weeks early and without any documented discrepancies.


Upon completion of shipyard work on 19 March 1973 GRAND RAPIDS moved to the Naval Ships Weapons Systems Engineering Station, Port Hueneme, California, to conduct missile systems checkout and evaluation.


GRAND RAPIDS returned to San Diego on 25 April for a short pre-overseas movement period. On 7 May 1973 GRAND RAPIDS and USS DOUGLAS (PG-l00) began their transit to Little Creek, Virginia. The ships were joined enroute by USS CAYUGA (LST-1186) which acted as escort and refueling ship as far as the Panama Canal. GRAND RAPIDS and DOUGLAS transited the Panama Canal on 22 May 1973.


The ship arrived in Little Creek, Va., on 2 June 1973 after liberty calls in Acapulco, Mexico; Panama City Panama; Fort Lauderdale, Florida and a brief stop for fuel in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


The GRAND RAPIDS and DOUGLAS left Little Creek for Naples on 28 July and were joined by USS PAWCATUCK (AO-108) on 29 July. PAWCATUCK acted as refueling escort as far as the Gulf of Cadiz. The homeport change was completed on 13 August 1973 when GRAND RAPIDS and DOUGLAS arrived in Naples, Italy.


On 1 October 1977 the USS GRAND RAPIDS (PG-98) was decommissioned and redesignated a boat. Custody of the hull of ex-USS GRAND RAPIDS was transferred to David Taylor Naval Research and Development Center, Annapolis, Maryland.


Narrative and photos provided by Dave Donaldson.



Pic of Grand Rapids


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Here's some general info about the Gunboats that I gleaned from the excellent website,gunboatriders.com



The ASHEVILLE CLASS Patrol Gunboat


General Background

The largest of the Navy's coastal patrol craft, the patrol gunboat was conceived in the early 1960's in response to the volatile Cuban Missile Crisis, intended primarily for coastal patrol and blockade operations as well providing task force protection against possible patrol boat missile threat. Because of their high speed and maneuverability, the gunboats were valuable in support of inshore raiding and reconnaissance operations. Their speed also enabled them to shadow enemy vessels for the purpose of collecting special intelligence.


The patrol gunboat could spend 2 weeks at sea, if necessary, without any replenishment. For the most part, at-sea time was limited to a few days between port calls. Food and fuel could be re-supplied by UNREP (underway replenishment) but a major limiting factor was in the quantity of freshwater that could be made from seawater. Even though the gunboat crew was small -- only 28 to 32 sailors -- the ship's evaporators wouldn't keep the crew adequately supplied. All seagoing vessels can experience water shortages, but this was a particularly troubling problem for the crews of these ships.



With only 10 feet from waterline to the tips of the propellers, these shallow draft vessels had excellent in-shore capability for they could maneuver into places that larger ships couldn't possibly travel. On the open seas, even in calm weather, this shallow navigational draft sometimes made the gunboat an uncomfortable ship to ride. Heavy seas would cause these boats to roll, pitch and yaw relentlessly. It was not unusual for a patrol gunboat to experience 45 to 55 degree rolls for days on end. In a harbor without a breakwater, rolls of 10 to 15 degrees was not uncommon. During one particular storm, the crew of one gunboat saw their ship heel over to the point that the inclinometer bubble reached 65 degrees. It was during this storm the ship lost one of the radio whip antennas, all the stanchions and lifelines on one side, and the ship's boat --all torn off by waves and heavy weather. If the constant side-to-side rolling wasn't bad enough, the pounding fore-to-aft motion of the ship's bow in up and down angles of 15 to 25 degrees, followed by the inevitable slam against the uncompressible ocean surface would seem to rattle the brains, bones and teeth of the gunboat sailors. Resting, sleeping and eating were all but impossible under these conditions, and fatigue overwhelmed even the most durable sailors. It was at times like this that the gunboat sailor understood why the first question asked of him upon his arrival onboard was "Ever been seasick?"!



Ounce-for-ounce, the PG was the most lethal weapons platform in the US Navy arsenal during their lifetime. Not to say that they could match the fire-power of the big boys for they couldn't, but, for the job the gunboat was designed to do, there was no ship that could out-gun them. The close-in fire-power of the PG was devastating to anything that these boats challenged. The weapons systems include a Mk 63 Gun Fire Control System that controlled a 40 millimeter gun mount aft and one 3"/50 caliber rapid fire gun mount forward. Additional armament consisted of two twin .50 caliber machine guns mounted port and starboard behind the pilot house and numerous M16's, M60 machine guns, and M79 grenade launchers. Over time, the US Navy perceived a need for a fast, missile-equipped ship. Consequently, some of the gunboats had the 40mm gun removed and replaced by 2 missile launchers. The missile system consisted of port and starboard launchers and magazines on the fantail with the capacity of four surface-to-surface missiles.



A unique feature of the patrol gunboat is the engineering plant, with a combination diesel and gas turbine (CODOG) propulsion system, twin Cummins / Caterpillar V-12 diesel engines for cruising and a General Electric LM-1500 marine gas turbine for high speed operations. The two diesels engines give the PG a cruising speed of 15 - 17 knots while the gas turbine (which is essentially the same as the J-79 aircraft engine used in the F-4 Phantom) propels the ship at speeds in excess of 35 knots. From a full stop a PG can attain a speed in excess of about 35 knots in less than one minute, and from maximum speed, can stop in less than the ships length. This high maneuverability is due to twin variable pitch propellers. Speed and pitch can be controlled from either the pilot house or from an enclosed operating station located in the engineering spaces. The PG has the ability to switch from diesel to gas turbine operations at short notice and without stopping.



The Asheville Class Patrol Gunboats remained in commission throughout the Viet Nam War, participating in numerous coastal and riverine operations. They were also utilized for Counter Drug Operations following the war. Construction of these ships took approximately 18 months from keel laying to completion at a cost of about $5 million. Thirteen of the ships still exist, some with other government agencies, some transferred to foreign navies. According to Mr. Ed McLean of the Environmental Protection Agency, READY, MARATHON, ASHVILLE and CROCKETT have been scrapped. The ships were 164.5 feet long, 23.8 feet wide with a draft of 9.5 feet, displacement was 226 tons, ships complement was 4 officers, 4 chiefs and 20 enlisted men.




The People:

Gunboat sailors came from all walks of life and had many different skills. Some wore khaki and some were white-hats, but all had one thing in common, they rode these boats into places that, sometimes, they really didn't want to go. Many were involved in combat in the coastal waters and rivers of Vietnam. Many suffered the pain of physical and mental wounds. Many were fortunate enough to avoid that conflict and arrived on-board after the horrors of Vietnam had ended.


Atlantic Gunboat Riders, worn and tired as they weathered winter storms and summer hurricanes, knew that their counterparts in the Pacific were being mercilessly pounded by typhoons and monsoons. Still others roamed the Mediterranean Sea to "Show-the-Flag" and provide a capability that, until the gunboat's development, had been lacking in the US Navy. Many Gunboat Riders experienced the "hospitality" of Guantanimo Bay, Cuba on an all-too-frequent basis to play the role of the opposing forces during multi ship exercises. Most times, these small ships with their small crews were overshadowed by the ships of the "Real Navy". However, they served with distinction and pride. By playing the role of the adversary, these boats provided invaluable training for ships of the US and allied navies -- a role that was often overlooked.


Wherever they were, Vietnam, Guam, Little Creek, Naples, San Diego, even Chicago, every Gunboat Rider can say that they had served with pride on those rough-riding aluminum and fiberglass PG's and survived.


I salute the hardy guys and their small,but powerful Gunboats.Great job all! :bravo:




Ship Commission Date Location

USS ASHEVILLE (PG-84) 06 August 1966 Tacoma WA

USS GALLUP (PG-85) 22 October 1966 Tacoma WA

USS CROCKETT (PG-88) 24 June 1967 Tacoma WA

USS ANTELOPE (PG-86) 04 November 1967 Tacoma WA

USS READY (PG-87) 06 January 1968 Tacoma WA

USS MARATHON (PG-89) 11 May 1968 Tacoma WA

USS CANON (PG-90) 26 July 1968 Tacoma WA

PGM-91 was built, but it not an Asheville class ship.

USS TACOMA (PG-92) 14 Jul 1969 Tacoma WA

USS WELCH (PG-93) 08 Sep 1969 Boston MA

USS DEFIANCE (PG-95) 24 Sep 1969 Boston MA

US SURPRISE (PG-97) 17 Oct 1969 Boston MA

USS CHEHALIS (PG-94) 08 Nov 1969 Tacoma WA

USS BEACON (PG-99) 22 Nov 1969 Boston MA

USS GREEN BAY (PG-101) 05 Dec 1969 Boston MA

USS BENICIA (PG-96) 25 Apr 1970 Tacoma WA

USS GRAND RAPIDS (PG-98) 05 Sep 1970 Tacoma WA

USS DOUGLAS (PG-100) 07 Feb 1971 Tacoma WA

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Found this schedule and a cool pic of Marathon in cammo:

















11 Jul - 23 Jul 1969

9 Aug - 16 Aug 1969

11 Sep - 14 Sep 1969

11 Mar - 26 Mar 1970

5 Jun - 15 Jun 1970*





23 Jul - 10 Aug 1969

17 Aug - 12 Sep 1969

15 Dec - 22 Dec 1969

14 Jan - 26 Jan 1970

15 Jul - 24 Jul 1970

7 Aug - 11 Aug 1970

Escorted CANON back to

Cam Ranh Bay

17 Aug - 26 Aug 1970*

22 Sep - 4 Oct 1970





30 Jan - 15 Feb 1970

28 Feb - 11 Mar 1970*

4 Apr - 17 Apr 1970*

25 Apr - 11 May 1970*

14 Jun - 2 Jul 1970





1969 & 1970 Histories

missing; following taken

from Family Grams, which

don't go beyond Sep 1969.

26 Jun - 11 Jul 1969

14 Sep - 25 Sep 1969

? Oct - ?*






9 Jul - 14 Jul 1970 *

9 Aug -10 aug 1970 *






1Mar - 10 Mar 1970

13 Apr - 6 Jun 1970

? May - ? Jul 1970






? Aug 1970 - 5 Oct 1970

Last PG used at SEAFLOAT

Painted in camouflage

21 Aug for SEAFLOAT ops,

1st combatant to be so

painted since WWII.



Found this online



Here's a link to PG boat OPs in Nam

Patrol Gunboat OPs in Vietnam


A cool pic of the Marathon in her Vietnam wartime Camouflage paint scheme


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

Love this thread and the history you shared. Nicely researched!

Most of these PGs were built a few miles from my home and I've known folks who helped to build them. In particular, I follow the PG-92 (and other ships named for my hometown).

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Love this thread and the history you shared. Nicely researched!


Most of these PGs were built a few miles from my home and I've known folks who helped to build them. In particular, I follow the PG-92 (and other ships named for my hometown).



Thanks man!I'm glad that you enjoyed it! :) I've always thought that these "boats" were so cool!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

Well it's been awhile since I've been able to update my Gun Boat thread.Here is a recent pickup,a US made PG 101 piece for the "Green Bay".

Here is some info that I found about the Green Bay:


The USS Green Bay (PG-101) was an Asheville class gunboat in the United States Navy. She has since been transferred to the Hellenic Navy under the name HS Tolmi (P-229).


United States Navy service


Green Bay was laid down on 6 November 1966 as PGM-101 by Peterson Builders Inc. in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. While under construction, she was reclassified as Patrol Gunboat, PG-101 on 1 April 1967.


She was launched on 14 June 1969 and was commissioned as USS Green Bay (PG-101) on 5 December 1969 at the Boston Navy Yard in Charlestown, Massachusetts.
The Green Bay was homeported in Little Creek, Va and made numerous trips to Guantanimo Bay, Cuba to serve in the role of the aggressor in fleet exercises. In addition, the Green Bay participated in many exercises simulated the deployment of Navy Seals and US Marines onto hostile shores. On 9 August 1974, Green Bay was nominated, by COMPHIBLANT (Commander Amphibious Forces Atlantic) for the Arleigh Burke Award.


She was decommissioned 22 April 1977 at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virgnina and was struck from the Navy Register on 1 October 1977.


Green Bay was transferred to Greece on 30 June 1989 as the corvette Tolmi (P-229) and was commissioned on 18 June 1991.


The only active gunboat on the East Coast in 1973 and most of 1974, the Green Bay took over the operations of the other 2 gunboats while they were in the yards. During those years immediately following the Vietnam War, gunboats played the role of 'aggresor' during fleet exercise. Operations included frequent trips to Guantanimo Bay and Roosevelt Roads.




Displacement 237 t.
Length 164' 5"
Beam 23' 8"
Draft 9' 5"
Speed 40 kts.
Armament: One 3"/50 gun mount, one 40mm gun mount, two twin .50 cal. machine guns
Propulsion: Two 725hp VT-12 875M Cummins diesels engines, one 1,370shp General Electric model LM 1500 gas turbine engine, two controllable pitch propellers, two shafts.



Back view


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...
Salvage Sailor

USS CHEHALIS (PG-94) Asheville class Patrol Gunboat In USN service 1969 to 1977


PG 94 USS CHEHALIS 001.jpg


PG 94 USS CHEHALIS 002.jpg



(Photo: BEACON, GREENBAY, CHEHALIS at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station)


She's still in service with Naval Sea Systems Command as Research Vessel ATHENA along with her sister GRAND RAPIDS (now ATHENA II) CARDEROCK DIVISION NSWC R/V ATHENA

RV ATHENA 001.jpg





Source photo for the NSWC patch



RV ATHENA 001.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Salvage Sailor

Very Nice Bearmon, That's a tough one to find


USS CANON (PG-90) Market Time Asheville class Patrol Gunboat In service 1968 to 1977

PG 90 USS CANON 001.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Salvage Sailor



Coastal Squadron Three (COMCOSRON THREE)

Coastal Squadron THREE was established at Cam Ranh Bay, Republic of Vietnam, October 1968 under the command of CDR A. G. Hodge (see note 1). The next Squadron Commander (see note 2) was CDR Charles F. Horne, who served until 1 July 1969 when he was relieved at Cam Ranh Bay by CDR Charles A. Dodd. Cdr Dodd immediately returned to San Diego, California as the home port of the Squadron shifted from Cam Ranh Bay to San Diego on 1 July 1969 concurrent with the change of command. The three Patrol Gunboats in Vietnam, USS ASHEVILLE (PG-84), USS GALLUP (PG-85), USS CROCKETT (PG-88) came under the Administrative Command of Coastal Division THIRTY-TWO, established on 1 July 1969 at Cam Ranh Bay with a homeport of Guam, Marianna Islands, LCDR John R. Swain Commanding. LCDR Swain was the former Chief Staff Officer of Coastal Squadron THREE. The Patrol Gunboats in San Diego, USS ANTELOPE (PG-86), USS READY (PG-87), USS MARATHON (PG-89) and USS CANON (PG-90) are assigned CCR-3



1. CDR A. G. Hodge is identified as CCR-3 in the USS MARATHON (PG-89) Commissioning Program.

2. Date of change of command is presently unknown.



2 Nov 1969: USS ANTELOPE (PG-86) and USS READY (PG-87) depart San Diego for Guam; assigned to CCD-32, homeport Guam.




14 November 1969: Coastal Division THIRTY-TWO staff moves to U. S. Naval Station, Guam.


17 Dec 1969: LCDR Edwin J. Knapp relieves LCDR John R. Swain as Commander Coastal Division THIRTY-TWO.


26 Jan 1970: USS CANON departs San Diego for Guam; assigned to CCD-32, homeport Guam.


2 Jun 1970: USS MARATHON (PG-89) departs San Diego for Guam; assigned to CCD-32, homeport Guam.








1 Aug 1970: USS TACOMA (PG-92) and USS WELCH (PG-93) depart San Diego for Guam; assigned to CCD-32, homeport Guam.






1 OCT 1970: USS DEFIANCE (pg-95) and USS SURPRISE (PG-97) depart San Diego for Little Creek VA; assigned to Commander Amphibious Force Atlantic Fleet.


1 Jan 1971: The homeports for Commander Coastal Squadron THREE is changed to Guam and the homeport for Commander Coastal Division THIRTY-TWO is changed to San Diego. CDR Charles A. Dodd, Commander Coastal Squadron THREE, LCDR Jerold Skaggs, CCR-3 Chief Staff Officer, and LT David B. Donaldson CCR-3 Operations Officer transfer to Guam. LCDR Edwin J. Knapp, Commander Coastal Division THIRTY-TWO transfers to San Diego. The remaining staff personnel are reassigned. The PGs homeported Guam are assigned to CCR-3 and the PGs homeported San Diego are assigned to CCD-32.


30 May 1971: USS ANTELOPE (PG-86) and USS READY (PG-87) depart Guam for Naval Shipyard, Long Beach CA; assigned to CCD-32, homeport Long Beach.


21 Jun 1971: USS CHEHALIS (PG-94), USS BEACON (PG-99), and USS GREEN BAY (PG-101) depart San Diego for Little Creek VA; assigned to Commander Amphibious Force Atlantic Fleet.


30 May 1972: LT R. J. O'Brien relieves LCDR Edwin J. Knapp as Commander Coastal Division THIRTY-TWO.


30 May 1972: Coastal Division THIRTY-TWO disestablished at San Diego. USS ANTELOPE (PG-86), USS READY (PG-87), USS DOUGLAS (PG-100), and USS GRAND RAPIDS (PG-98) assigned to Commander Coastal-River Squadron ONE and are no longer in CCR-3 administrative organization.




2 Oct 1972: CDR Richard W. Anderson relieves CDR Charles A. Dodd as Commander Coastal Squadron THREE.


21 Jun 1974: USS ASHEVILLE (PG-84), USS CROCKETT (PG-88), USS TACOMA (PG-92) and USS WELCH (PG-93) depart Guam for San Diego.






30 Jun 1972: Coastal Squadron THREE disestablished at Naval Station Guam after five years and 9 months of operations.


USS GALLUP (PG-85) & USS CANON (PG-90) remained at Guam until 3 Nov 1974 when they departed for San Diego.


Narrative provided by Dave Donaldson.

Photos from my collection

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Salvage Sailor

USS DOUGLAS (PG-100) In USN service 1971 to 1977.

Also became a Carderock Research Vessel until she was sunk off the coast of North Carolina

PG 100 USS DOUGLAS 001.jpg


PG 100 USS DOUGLAS 002.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Salvage Sailor

Documents - The End of the Line for the Ashevilles


Patrol Division 21 in the Med with the Sixth Fleet



{Information provided by Bruce Sharpe}


At the direction of the Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Elmo Zumwalt, planning began in July 1970 to transfer two Patrol Gunboats from the Pacific Fleet to the Mediterranean in order to augment the Sixth Fleet. The basic mission to be fulfilled by these new and largely untried ships was that of "tattletail". This mission envisioned a visual confirmation of a surface-to-surface missile launch against major units of the Sixth Fleet by a potential enemy. By being in company with the potential adversary, the PG could then immediately warn all units of the impending attack. The small size and small crew of the PG made it an extremely economical and attractive platform for this mission.


As a result of this initial planning, USS DEFIANCE (PG-95) and USS SURPRISE (PG-97) commenced their long transit to Naples, Italy in September 1970. They stopped briefly in Little Creek, Virginia and were formed into Patrol Division 21 on 15 November 1970 under LCDR Paul D. Frazer, a former CO of USS CHEHALIS (PG-94). The following day they departed to continue their forward deployment across the Atlantic and officially joined the Sixth Fleet on 2 December 1970. Operating out of Naples with the Patrol Division staff embarked on USS CASCADE (AD-16), the two ships of the division began a continuous demonstration of their capabilities and reliability. Operations took them throughout the Mediterranean from Casablanca, Morocco to Istanbul, Turkey; from Venice and Trieste, Italy to Bizerte, Tunisia. Operations included operating as "aggressor" forces against carrier battle groups and as SEAL delivery and support platforms for Special Operations. LCDR R. Richard "Rudy" Black relieved as commodore in Naples on 18 August 1972. USS GRAHAM COUNTY (AGP-1176) and the gunboats USS ANTELOPE (PG-86) and USS READY (PG-87) joined the division in September 1972 with "GRACO" becoming the flagship.


USS SURPRISE was transferred to the Turkish Navy on 28 February 1973 and renamed BORA (P-339). USS DEFIANCE would follow and was transferred to the Turkish Navy on 11 June 1973 at Izmir, Turkey and renamed TCG YILDIRIM (P-338). She would ultimately be destroyed by fire on 11 April 1985 off the Greek island of Mitelene, near Lesbos in the northeastern Aegean Sea. Patrol Division 21 continued operating as an embarked staff until the staff was disestablished on 30 June 1973 with all duties passing to LCDR Peter McCammon, CO USS GRAHAM COUNTY.


The division would be augmented by two additional gunboats on 13 August 1973 when USS GRAND RAPIDS (PG-98) under the command of LT Gordon RHEINSTROM and USS DOUGLAS (PG-100) under the command of LT Doug Smart arrived in Naples, Italy. The gunboat division would continue to operate out of Naples until 1977 when all of the ships returned to Norfolk/Little Creek. GRAHAM COUNTY would be struck from the Naval Register on 1 March and the four PGs would be decommissioned at Little Creek on 1 October 1977.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Salvage Sailor

"GRACO" Flagship of PATDIV21 in the Med

ex-LST USS GRAHAM COUNTY (AGP-1176), Patrol Gunboat Tender




Link to comment
Share on other sites


Excellent stuff guys.I've always been fascinated with these small ships.Many of them saw action in Vietnam.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Salvage Sailor

Found my R/V ATHENA patch (ex-PG-94 USS CHEHALIS) mixed in with my research ship collection (NOAA, NAVOCEANO, etc)

Wisdom, Arts, Industry & Prudent Warfare - David Taylor Research Center

I wonder what "Prudent Warfare" signifies?

RV ATHENA 001.jpg


RV ATHENA 002.jpg


and (again) the photo it was (reverse) modeled from

RV ATHENA 001.jpg



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...