10-05-06 Randy Miller    I was stationed with Boat Support Unit One at the Amphib Base in San Diego from 1965-1968. During that time I served as part of the 4 member boat crew on the LCSR. We had about 6-7 of them. It was a 52 ft fiber glass boat with twin 1,000 hp Solar gas turbine engines twin screw shaft drive.We used them to go out to
San Clemente Island to chase ships at night as part of training for ships going to Yankee Station off the North Viet Nam coast to give them practice on handling NV patrol boats.

The boat was set up to drop off at high speed UDT/Seal team swimmers from the aft end of the boat as it came parallel to the beach. When the swimmers swam out to be picked up they split into two groups. A probe was dropped down in front of the boat. The LCSR made a high speed pass at the swimmers dropping off a small pod type boats that 6 swimmers could enter. The back part of the pod was removed. The two pods were attached by a line. As the LCSR came back around, the probe would hit the line just off center and the line would slide up to a wench located on the bow off the boat. As the boat sped away with the swimmers in the two pods, the wench would be activated and the pods pulled up the LCSR. A slide ramp was attached so the pods could be pulled onto the back of the boat as the swimmers scampered out and the pods were stored on top of the swimmers compartment. I did this many times on demonstration runs for the brass and for Veterans Day ceremonies. It was never used in combat situations. The LCSR was used instead of the old method of a man hanging over the side of the boat with a loop catching swimmers arms and swinging them onto the boat.

The LCSR was very fast but temperamental. The engines couldn't take the low/slow speeds and changing speeds required of a boat. The engines were for stationary running. When we came in after a run at sea we would have to go down into the engine room to siphon 5 gals of distilled water into the intakes to clean salt water off the compressor blades. I made many runs out to San Clemente Island and most of the ships we chased never saw us coming. If we got with in 3,000 yds of them undetected it was considered a kill. We fired off a flare when we got close. The only time we got killed is when the P-2 Orion twin prop search planes would pick up our wake and spot us with their search light on their wing tip. It would turn night into day. When the LCSR was running in top form it was great, when we had engine problems it was a booger. When we sailed out of a wave because we were going to fast the engines would over rev and flame out. It would take 5 mins for the engine to wind down before we could re-light them. Not good in a combat situation.

Just some thoughts from an old BSU-1 sailor, Randy Miller

John Woody - Bob and All, What about the LCSRs, the Uniflite Landing Craft Swimmer Recovery boat with Solar Gas Turbines. We had several at BSU-1 when I was there. I believe it was a 52 ft boat built on a cabin cruiser hull. They were fun for about an hour and half, and then you had to refuel. I have added Ken Spaulding, marine architect, retired, NAVSEA, small boats, who may have additional information. Ken worked on most of the Vietnam era small combat boats. I will forward the other e-mail to him. John W.

Stephen Thomas - By the time I reported to BSU-1 at the end of 1968, all of the LCSR had been withdrawn from service and put up on blocks in the PhiBase boat storage lot, back in the furthest corner, as I recall. They were right up against the cyclone fence and clearly visible from the road as I headed into Coronado and the Mexican Village on Saturdays.

Their most important defect, from an operational point of view, was that they could not be carried under davits, only as deck load on an AKA/APA or in an LSD/LPD well deck, in their own custom skids. Either way, each LCSR assigned to a force meant at least one less LCM or LCU. As I  recall, compatibility with standard Welin davits and skids was a design requirement for the Mk. II LCSR. -


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