James Truehart, GMGC - CRD-22 History


(02-03-08) James Truehart, GMGC - USNR-Retired  We Had 2 PTFs in early days of CRD-22 and Yes, I LOVED THE PTF'S. BIG, FAST AND DIFFERENT. Really loved the big water discharge at IDLE out of the stern. Worked my butt off getting the 40mm deck gun ready to fire, then the Navy sent PTFs to Little Creek Va. Bummer! Jim Truehart

For the PTF's and PCF's,we would go out into the Gulf of Mexico to an area on the charts designated as a "bombing range". Safety for the crews and civilians in the area was PRIORITY. We would get clearance ahead of time from the U.S. Coast Guard which would then make report to mariners in the area. We would always have "spotter" boats to ensure that no commercial or civilian craft would venture into our shooting area. We didn't have problems with bigger craft, but from time to time, a fisherman would "wander over to us" just to try to see what was going on. This was particularly curious to them at first as no one had ever seen any green or gray U.S. Navy vessels before, thinking at first we must be army or some secret branch of the CIA. We would do our firing runs with a lead boat, then cover boat. Only problem we ever had was when shooting the MK-19's, the boat was rocking and rolling a little and the person on the MK-19 let off a grenade on the "down" roll, causing the grenade to explode too close to the boat and one person got a very small "bee sting" from shrapnel to his left leg, didn't even bleed. Unfortunately for the PBR's and Mini's only firing done from them was blanks. Every October the entire unit would go to Camp Shelby Miss, Hattisburg, Mississippi for live firing of .38's, m-16's, mk-19's, m-79's, m-60, 81mm mortar, and .50 cals, and shotguns. We would ride Navy buses from New Orleans to Hattisburg (about 80 miles north or so) on a Friday night, arriving just in time to hit the racks and head out to various firing ranges on Saturday morning for all day shoots and sometimes did night firings on the ranges to show troops difference between daytime firing and nighttime firing. I have lots more stories to send you and hope you can use them and don't get bored from my "sea stories". I absolutely loved the unit, the boats, the troops, the SEALS, and everything about the SBU's. We all did, active USN and SELRES personnel.

Here's one story that you may want to post, as it will show the LOVE and PASSION for the boats in Boat Units.

I can't remember the year, but there was talk about de-commissioning, then Coastal River Division 22 by the military brass. We were asked to contact our Washington,D.C. reps and apply pressure to keep us. Anyway, the local U.S.Coast Guard Reserves had heard about this, and one Friday night at drill, came to our unit and made a sales pitch that "with so many boat handling people" there would be a place for them in the Coast Guards. We listened, asked questions. With me already being a GMG1 and having my own boat, the Coast Guard said that "only coxains and BM's manned their boats" and "GMG's would be port security (this was in late 1970's) and no boats". Needless to say this did not sit well with me or the other Gunner's. I won't mention their names, but 2 of our enlisted personnel (RM2e and OS1) had college degrees and Coast Guard said they would make them instant Ensigns if they would transfer to them. Here's the clincher, NOT A ONE PERSON, EVEN COLLEGE GRADS, MADE THE MOVE FROM CRD-22 TO THE COAST GUARD. Coast Guard could not believe that 2 enlisted men, would forgo instant Ensign-ship to remain with CRD22. Unit got its reprieve, and became SBU-22 and the rest is history. Hope you enjoyed this little bit of unit history. Jim T

Another story from CRD22 days when Cdr. Foster was our CO: We were at Eglin AirBase in Florida for a big, multi military branch war games. Involved every branch, including Army Rangers, Navy Seals, Marine Recons, etc. As you know, the Boat Captain is responsible for the boat, crew, and completion of the mission, right?

Perhaps after you post this Cdr. Foster will reply and support this story. We had a SELERES EN-2 that was a very good and fully quaified boat captain of a Mini-ATC. He was tasked with taking a small squad of Army types to an insertion point via the ATC. The Army officer, a 2nd Lt. or Captain demanded to be inserted at a certain spot on the riverbank. The Boat Captain told him that the water had too many stumps there and he would beach the craft for insertion approximately 50 yds. further downstream. The Army officer got huffy and "ordered" the Boat Captain to insert where he told him to. The Boat Captain politely refused and was told by the Army officer "I will report you to your C.O. when we return". Boat Captain said very well and proceeded to the alternate insertion point. Well, later the Army officer did indeed report the Boat Captain to Cdr. Foster, who more or less replied "The boat captain is responsible for the craft, crew, and mission. He did exactly what he is trained to do. End of discussion." Prior to this, the boat captain had told the Patrol Officer the events, who told it to Cdr. Foster.

 Needless to say, this E-5 Boat Captain stood his ground and kept his boat and crew safe. He was a local hero in our unit for sticking to his guns.
Jim Truehart GMGC-USNR-Retired