Why SBU-26 was the Best
no secret that it takes a greater amount of courage,
commitment, and willingness to excel than the
regular fleet sailor, when you volunteer for
Combatant Craft duty. Iíd say only about 5 % of
those that volunteered didnít have what it took in
the old days. Hey, someoneís gotta man the armory
and the paint locker.
as far as inherent talent, SBU-26 was no better or
worse than any other SBU. What we had though, was
access to the best training areas, more
opportunities to work with our sister services, and
some hardcore jobsites to employ to.
letís be honest guys, everybody else came to train
with us. Though I did go up to Little Creek to take
possession of PB759 and drive her south, truthfully,
I couldnít wait to get home.
Imagine getting up on a Monday morning and deciding,
hey, letís go train on the Lake for the week. Pack
your boats, food and ammo and head out to the
training base camp on Empire Range on the west side
of the Lake. No Greenpeace, EPA, Coast Guard crap to
worry about. Just Dump those PBLís in at Gamboa and
get to shootiní. Blow shit up too. Practice tactics,
boat handling, hot extractions you name it, with
real bullets almost anytime you want.
Being regular participants at Jungle Operations
Training Center at Ft Sherman was an excellent way
to train the Army guys on valuing boats as something
besides taxis. Luckily, the invite was standing
because of the Commander, LTCOL Testin, a Green
Beanie. He was and exchange guy with SPECWARCOM for
a couple of years in San Dog.
Counter Drug Ops in the Latin American AO was
awesome stuff. Worked with a lot of good guys and
some idiots from host nations but for the most part,
great training. You just had to watch them. During
the FTX portion, they would try like hell to get you
to support some real world shit. That was a no-no.
Had to hand it to the sneaky bastard, Iíd have done
the same thing. Donít laugh, but, ask me about
Shrimp Boat Pirates sometime.
resources were pretty good too. Letís just say, the
Navy didnít own the PBLís we drove.
main advantage probably, was that 26 was the only
Coastal and Riverine unit. Gave great exposure to
everyone there. Being a Plank owner, so to speak, Of
PB841, I tried to maintain good relations with the
Coastal guys. Iíd invite them out to training on the
Lake. Maintenance and Supply guys to if they wanted.
Funny how those Coastal guys wanted to get in
Riverine Division until they had to spend the night
sleeping in the rain on an open boat with no
microwave, still I had to play nice so I could get
that hot cup of Joe when we nested up in the locks
during an HVT. It pays to have friends. Made a few
with the guys from SBUís 11 and 22. Always nice to
introduce newbies to the jungle.
downside is that now, living in Western Washington,
I have plenty of trees around, but when I go to
east, over the Cascades, I get the willies, its high
desert without trees and I know thereís no place to
hide. I miss the rotting garbage stench and decay of
the Jungle. Itís soÖÖ..ME!
for now, Boat Dudes! Remember the 3 Rules of
Riverine Warfare. 1. Donít get off the Boat. 2.
Always Park in the shade and 3. Donít forget your