04/24/04 - Dear Bob,
Well now, I can tell you what happened after I got to COSRIVRON 2 in Jan
At that time, CRD 22 was in New Orleans with PCF, PBRs and Minis. We
had at Little Creek (to the best of my memory)
3 PTFs 23, 19, and 17 NOTE: 19 and 17 were on skids
3 PBs 721 722 and 731 and another one but I don't remember the serial number
(note: after I left the Boats, they started calling the PBS by their serial
number, we never did. Each boat had a number special to it and we used that)
I was first assigned to PTF 23 trying to get the guns and mounts in shape
since the boat had been in semi moth balls for awhile. It was commanded by
Lt Terry Wingo. I can't recall the names of the other guys who were working
on it. Well we got all the guns going in about a month, only to have that
cancelled and the boat was retired. I was then asked if I wanted to do boat
time or work in the GMG gun shack. I chose the boats and began my
formal/informal training on PBs and riverine stuff. At the same time, I was
being trained with guys from UDT-21 along with the guys who had been chosen
to start up the Harbor Patrol Unit to be deployed to Panama. This unit
eventually became SBU 26 in 1987.
6 Mini ATCs
1 Mike Boat LCM
I went TAD down to Panama for a month that winter (1978) to put together a
temp armory as well as to ensure that all the new unit's arms were up to
spec. COSRIVRON 2 provided the PBRs and CRD 22 gave up (I believe) 2 PCFs.
While down there, I made one of the first runs through the canal. I also
took the chance to get checked out on the PCF.
In March 1979, the COS was swallowed whole and reluctantly by NAVSPECWARGRU
2. It was then redesignated SPECBOATRON 2 and CRD 22 changed over to SBU-22.
The COS was divided into 2 elements SBU-20 which would have the coastal
elements and SBU-24 which would have Riverine assets as well as all of the
reservists. By that time more PBs had arrived, the PTFs, MSSC, LSSC were all
gone. It was known for awhile that this was going to happen, as training was
reflecting a closer role with SPECWAR and reevaluating the quals needed to
be a Boat Captain.
At that time, SBU 20 consisted of approx 4-5 PBs and PLs. SBU 24 had 3 PBs,
6 minis, LCM, and a couple of PLs which we used for UDT deployments to the
When I left in 1981, SBU 20 had 6-7 PBs but SBU-24 still had the same
You mention turning over 26 assets to the Panamanians but I am not so sure
about that since I know that 22 in MS has a collection of PBRs and Minis on
skids down there. You may be right that they did indeed turn over the
So all in all, your facts are pretty correct, just need to adjust the time
line slightly since HPU in Panama was in 1978, the change to SPEC BOAT was
SBU 26 survived until 1999.
SBU 24 died in 1993, with SBU 20 taking back the reservists and shitcanning
some very reliable boats for these inflatable death traps they have out
True, SBUs are now SBTs and they have their own pin now which I agree with
since the role they have now has very little to do with the boat pin from
our history in Vietnam. Other units now have that role of waterborne
interdiction and security. SBTs are what we all feared would happen when
SPEC WAR took over, SEAL taxi service. Funny in the 70s we used to be able
to do both roles. The training then was very cool as well since we used to
cross train each other very very intensely... Great times... Frank
Let me run this one by you and your contacts.
As I understand it, BSU-2 became Coastal River Squadron TWO on 10 July 1971.
In mid-1972 CRS-2 setup two sub-units; CRD-21 at Great Lakes, IL and CRD-22
at New Orleans. CRD-21 was disestablished on 30 June 1976.
On 1 March 1978, CRD-20 was designated Special Boat Unit 20. (I assume that
since there was now only one, CRD-22 was redesignated CRD-20 before this
Special Boat Squadron TWO at Little Creek
then had three sub-units: SBU-20, SBU-22, and SBU-24.
Eventually there was SBU-26 in Panama to guard the canal.
But, after it was turned over to the Panamanians, their
assets were given to the government of Panama.
From the NSWC website it now appears that Squadron TWO has redesignated and
consolidated its SBUs into Special Boat Teams. SBT-20 is based at Little
Creek, VA and SBT-22 is at Stennis, MS.
None of this stuff should be considered classified. This is just name
changes and admin stuff.
04/23/03 Subject: Research
Good Morning, Roger.
Frank Cumberland just contacted me about the East Coast BSU/CRS/SBU info
that I talked to you about previously. And he said he'd be glad to help out
in whatever way he can.
He told me that he'd tried to research stuff and had run into problems that
your position would allow you to bypass. Anyhow, I recommended that he
contact you and you guys could bounce ideas off each other.
One of my pet problems that I'm trying to solve (without a lot of luck, I
might add) is finding anything about Coastal River Division 22 based at New
Orleans, LA in the 1970's. When the Vietnam War wound-down, the PTFs were
returned from SEA and distributed among Coastal River Squadron 1 and CRS-2.
The PTFs had their service lives extended through the creation of SelNavRes
components whereby these boats could train reservists. CRS-1 had one and
CRS-2 had two: Coastal River Division 21 at Great Lakes, IL and CRD-22 at
New Orleans, LA. As constituted, CRD-21 had PTF-17 through PTF-19, CRD-22
had [I believe] PTF-23 and PTF-25 plus some other craft.
CRD-21 lasted from mid-1972 through mid-1976 before it was decommissioned.
CRD-22 lasted from about mid-1972 through March 1979 when it became a part
of Special Boat Unit 20. This trail is convoluted because CRS-2 morphed
into SBR-2 with three subunits: SBU-20, SBU-22, and SBU-24. I have yet to
get a correct lineage established from published sources so that I can even
ask the right questions.