Patrol Boat Riverine (PBR)
Patrol Boat Riverines, or “PBRs”, provided SEALs the capability to operate in the shallow canals and massive rivers of Vietnam during their earliest deployments. They served as an insertion and extraction platform and provided direct fire support when needed.
In 1965 there were an estimated 80,000 Viet Cong (VC) and Viet Cong sympathizers in the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam. Of these, some 30,000 were thought to be regular troops and 50,000 part-time guerrillas capable of operating in battalion-size units. The VC was the target of the SEALs.
The task of recapturing the waterways was assigned to Task Force 116, codenamed Game Warden. Its original mission was to patrol inland waterway, enforce curfews, search river traffic, and deny the Viet Cong an opportunity to infiltrate and re-supply.
The PBRs were replaced with boats specifically designed for SEAL operations. These were the Light SEAL Support Craft (LSSC) and Medium SEAL Support Craft (MSSC). Several were dedicated to each SEAL Platoon, and operated and maintained by the Boat Support Unit ONE Mobile Support Teams (MSTs).
The LSSCs and MSSCs were never returned from Vietnam; however, the PBR was returned to Naval Special Warfare inventory Reserve Components and assigned to Special Boat Units 13 and 22. Like those on display at The National Navy SEAL Museum, PBRs and the MSSC and LSSC typically operated in pairs.
The Museum’s PBRs on display are graciously on loan from the Naval History and Heritage Command.