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Call Signs of the Mobile Riverine Force and other units in Vietnam

Call signs of the Mobile Riverine Force were clever names meant to confuse the enemy regarding the actual names and locations of units when communicating over the radio.  This initial call sign list was contributed by Ed Gorczyk "Dragonfly A-3."  These signs were used in the 1967-68 time period. Thanks Ed for getting this started. You may be aware of others or you can fill in some of the blanks below.  If so, please email webmaster and I'll make the additions/corrections as necessary.  You may also remember different call signs from different years.  If so, please signify the year.  We are missing several ships and a lot of 9th Army unit call signs so please provide those and we'll get them added.  Thanks to all who have provided additions and/or corrections to the list.  Your help is much appreciated.

Latest Update: 07/16/12

Task Force 117 MRF Units


Call Sign

COMNAVFORV Moose Hunter - Bulky Baton (Zumwalt)

ComRivFlot 1

Kris Kringle (CAPT Wade C. Wells), later Gannymead 6 (CAPT J.C. Now)

RivFlot1, Detachment Dong Tam First Citizen

ComRivRon 9

Adhesive Tape

ComRivDiv 91

Blue Swords

River Division 91 Boats

Dragonfly (Alfa 3, Mike 1, etc.)

ComRivDiv 92 January Juliet, Oral Stamp ('68-'69)

River Division 92 Boats

Sair Snips, Scotch Jewels ('68-'69)

ComRivRon 11 (LCDR Dusty Rhodes 1967, CDR Sullivan 1968, CDR Sorenson, CDR Storm 1969)

Abominate, Cider Press (1969)

ComRivDiv 111 (Lt. Charley Cox 1968, Lt. Jim Gautier 1969)

Smoke Jumper, Ladder Yankee (1969)

River Division 111 Boats

Racey Scalp

ComRivDiv 112 (Lt. Dana French 1969) Chemist, Gesture Alpha (1969)

River Division 112 Boats

Plain Genius

ComRivRon 13

Arabian Knight

ComRivDiv 131

Mariner India '68-'69, then Brassrail 16

River Division 131 Boats

Retain Whiskey

ComRivDiv 132 Keybrook Yankee '68-'69, then Brassrail 26

River Division 132 Boats

Mainyard Papa

River Squadron 13 Repair Boss

Arabian Knight 4

ComRivRon 15 Dictograph (CDR W.C. Deal), 

ComRivDiv 151

Admiral India - Madeira Quebec

River Division 151 Boats

Ladder Echo

ComRivDiv 152 Jangle Victor 

River Division 152 Boats

Ladder Xray

ComRivDiv 153, LT. J. Thomas Lopez (ADM USN Ret.) Farmdale

River Division 153/595 Boats


Birch Reports

Porterly Topic


Support Ships/Vessels of the MRF


Call Sign

APL-26 Spike 26
APL-30 Spike  30

USS Askari (ARL-30)

January Yankee

USS Benewah (APB-35)

Keybrook Echo (later Ladder Foxtrot)

USS Blanco County (LST-344) Indigo Golf
USS Caroline County (LST-525) Retain Alpha
USS Colleton (APB-36) Killer Alfa (later Dipper Foxtrot)
USS Fort Marion (LSD-22) Jilt November

USS Garrett County (LST-786)

Fish Tail

USS Hampshire County (LST-819) Cape Town Juliet
USS Harnett County (LST-821) River Lass 
USS Hickman County (LST-825) Ziggy Bravo
USS Hunterdon County (LST-838) Dahlia, In 1968-69: Bright Gallant then Humdrum then Gallsworth
USS Jennings County (LST-846) Eagleton (later Mobilized Whiskey)
USS Kemper County (LST-854) Aloha Zulu
USS Krishna (ARL-38) Capetown Tango
USS Mercer (APB-39) Chapel X-Ray
USS Montrose (APA-212) Expert India
USS Nueces (APB-40) Equal Hotel
USS Page County (LST-1076) Ziggy Victor
USS Pitkin County (LST-1082) Glen Hill Mike

USS Satyr (ARL-23)

Forfeit Quebec

USS Sphinx (ARL-24) Cabot Foxtrot
USS Sumner County (LST-1148) Ageless Golf
USS Terrell County (LST-1157) Everybody's Baby
USS Tioga County (LST-1158) Lanslip Mike
USS Vernon County (LST-1161) Lanslip Quebec
USS Washoe County (LST-1165) Estuary or Barbados
USS Washtenaw County (LST-1166) Trident Lima
USS Westchester County (LST-1167) Retain Mike
USS Whitfield County (LST-1169) Naomi Zulu

USS Windham County (LST-1170)

Ageless Whiskey

YLLC-2 (Yard Light Lifting Craft) Gentleman Jim 2
YLLC-5 Gentleman Jim 5
YR-71 Choking Dipper

YRBM-17 at Dong Tam

Central Shovel - One Seven

YRBM-18 (formerly APL 55) Jato 18 (was Spike 55)
YTB-784 Glennhill Foxtrot
YTB-785 Bacardi Sierra


Naval Support Activities/Bases/Detachments/Ground Support/Army Units*


Call Sign

1st/11th Artillery Caisson
1st Brigade CO Gun Fighter 6 (Col. Hank Emerson)
1st Brigade CO Mal Hombre (Col. Gervasie sp?)
HHC 2nd Brigade Aviation (Spotter AC) Cyclops
2nd/47th/9th Panther
3rd Brigade Aircraft/Tan An Snowsnake
3rd Brigade CO ?? 6
3rd/34th Artillery Battalion Gunner
3rd/34th, Fire Direction Center Gunner 09
3rd/34th, B Battery, Fire Direction Center Gunner 59
3rd/34th, B Battery, CO Gunner 56
3rd/34th FO's attached to 3rd/60th Gunner 51, 52 and 53
3rd/47th/9th Langley
3rd/47th/9th 4.2 Mortars Mike
3rd/60th/9th Patron, Neptune
4th/39th Machete
4th/39th/Charlie Co./1st Platoon Ldr. Machete Charlie 1 6 Actual (thanks Jim Kirk)
4th/39th/Charlie Co./1st Platoon RTO Machete Charlie 1 6 Oscar
4th/47th/9th Fallen Towns
5th/60th/9th, B Co. CO Violent Patter
6th/31st/9th Hunter
9th Aviation Battalion - Company A - "Gunships" Stingray
9th Aviation Battalion - Company B "Slicks" Jayhawk
9th Infantry Division Python
9th Inf. Commanding General: Major General Julian J. Ewell Reliable Six
9th Inf., 2nd Brigade CO and Asst. Div. Commander (General Fulton) Masher Six
191st Assault Helicopter Company Slick  Platoons (White and Yellow) Boomerang #
191st Assault Helicopter Company Gunship Platoon (Red) Bounty Hunter
1097th Mobile Battalion Why Gossip
Air Force Forward Air Controller Tamale (Covey in 1972)
An Thoi Spotter Planes Bird Dog

Ben Keo NSA

Last Shot

Ben Luc NSA

Atlantic Island

Binh Thuy ( call to launch an OV-10 strike)

Red Rose

Cat Lo Courtly Grapes
Chinook CH-47 Unit Pachyderm
Chu Lai Spotter Planes Jake
Coastal Groups 34, USN Advisors, Ham Luong River Foxtrot Golf
Coastal Groups 35, USN Advisors, Co Chien River Foxtrot Hotel
Coastal Groups 36, USN Advisors, Bassac River Foxtrot India
Cua Viet NSA Detachment Plastic Charlie (Clipping in 1968)
Cua Viet NOC Big Dance
LCM-860 (Dodge City in Elephant Valley) Blueberry Pie
Dong Tam Salvage Boat
Dong Ha NSA Damon
Go Dau Ha NSA Remittance
ISDS Unit 1 (Improved Swimmer Defense System) attached to YRBM 21 Amber Outfit
IUWG (Inshore Underwater Warfare Group) 1 Vung Tau Senate
IUWG-1 / Unit 2 Cam Ranh Bay Flaming Bush - Boats were Aphrodite
IUWG-1 / Unit 3 Qui Nhon Paperwrap
IUWG-1 / Unit 4 Nha Trang Alamo Plaza
IUWG-1 / Unit 5 Vung Ro Lizard

Moc Hoa


Navy Communciation Center, Dong Tam Boxer Whiskey



Navy Chopper Cover

Seawolf 76 (OIC)

NSA Dong Tam Boxer Whiskey
NSA Nha Be Moon River
NSA Saigon Bogus Genius (Add a number for a YFR operating from that location)

Phouc Xuyen area Canal Blocking Operation


RAID 71 Navy Advisors Farfetch
RAID 72 Navy Advisors Green Coffin Seven Two
River Assault Groups (xx) where xx designates the group Crazy Razor (xx)
SEAL Teams at SEA FLOAT/SOLID ANCHOR at Nam Can Tradewinds
MARS Station Dong Tam AB8AZ
Mobile Support Team, Det C at SEA FLOAT/SOLID ANCHOR at Nam Can Black Bear
Mobile Support Team 2, My Tho
MST-2 Mike Boat Kanute One One

Tan An


Tay Ninh Last Shot

Tra Cu (in the beek)


Vung Tau Air Support


Vung Tau Spotter Planes Shotgun
57 Med Detachment (Hel Amb)  Dustoff


* Notes to Army Call Signs: Thanks Ron Menner for this excellent information on breaking down Army Call Signs. The following pertains to the 3rd/47th but could easily describe other Army units by replacing the call sign. For example, Langley was the call sign for the 3rd Battalion/47th Infantry/9th Infantry Division. Numbers were added to call signs to indicate the unit commanders. For example,

bulletSix was used for Commanding Officers (Langley Six was LTC Blackie Bolduc), 
bullet Five for Executive Officers or Second in Command
bulletFour for Supply/Logistics Officers
bulletThree for Operations Officers
bulletTwo for Intelligence Officers
bulletOne for Personnel Officers

Company Commanders were, for example,

bullet Langley Alpha Six for A Company, 3rd/47th
bulletLangley Bravo Six for B Company, 3rd/47th 
bulletLangley Charlie Six for C Company, 3rd/47th  

Operations Centers were designated Three Three.

Examples: Langley Three was the operations officer of the 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry. Rifle platoons were identified for example, as Langley Charlie Three Six which was the Third Rifle Platoon Leader in C company of the 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry. At the platoon level, Five would designate the Platoon Sergeant.  

Other interesting Army nomenclature:



xxxx Army
xxx Corps
xx Division
x Brigade
!!! Regiment
!! Battalion or Squadron
! Company, Troop or Battery
... Platoon
.. Section
. Squad




Crossed Sabers Cavalry
Crossed Cannons Artillery
Crossed Pistols Military Police
Crossed Rifles Infantry
Flaming Pot Ordnance
Wheels with Spokes Transportation
Tank Armor
Lightning Bolt Signal
Cross Medical

While there are exceptions to the rule, a two-number designated unit such as the 47th infantry denotes it belongs to a division commanded by a two star General. A three-number unit such as the 205th Military Police belong to a Corps commanded by a three-star General, and a four-number unit such as the 4077 MASH (Hawkeye Pierce's unit) the 4077 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital belongs to the Army Commander, a four star General. 

Helicopter Support of the 9th Infantry:

The 191st was stationed at Bearcat from 5'67 til 8'68, and then moved to Dong Tam. They provided combat support for the 9th Infantry Division and the entire MRF, frequently landing on the Benewah and at Nha Be Naval base for rearming, refueling, etc. Because of their extraordinary combat record they were also called upon to support the Naval Seal teams, the 25th Inf. Division, the 1st Inf. Div. and the 199 Light Inf. Brigade.

The 191st Assault Helicopter Company was somewhat typical of helicopter support for the 9th Infantry.  It was composed of 4 platoons. Two "Slick" platoon consisted of 10 helicopters each which inserted, transported, and extracted troops.  The white and yellow tail markings designated the platoon so the troops would have an easy way to identify them coming. 

The third "gunship" platoon was composed of eight gunships ( armed helicopters, each with two 8-barrel miniguns with 1,000 rounds of 7.62 per minigun, 6 rocket pods, and two door gunners with hand-held M-60 machine guns with 4,000 rounds per machine gun. The gunships provided protection to the slicks when they were inserting, or picking up, troops. They also provided fireppower for other units, when needed. 

The mechanics who took care of these ships were the fourth platoon.


Other US Navy/Coast Guard Units/Vessels


Call Sign

USS Advance (MSO-510)  Naomi Delta
USS Agerholm (DD-826) Battering Ram
USS Aludra (AF-55)  Wallop Lima
USS Arlington (AGMR-2) = Auxillary Communications Major Relay at sea in Yankee Station Jackpine

USS Biddle (DLG-34)

Hard Charger

USS Blue (DD-744) Gold Eagle
USS Boston (CAG-1) Mauler
USS Bradley (DE-1041) Comet Express
USS Brule (AKL-28) Native Tango
USS Buchanan (DDG-14) Sharp Note

USS Cabildo (LSD-16)

Wardrobe Tango

USS Canberra (CAG-2) Blockbuster
USS Clarion River (LSMR-409) Catalog Xray
USS Carronade (IFS-1) Expert Alfa
USS Conflict (MSO-426)  Camshaft Xray
USS Currituck (AV-7) Flying Goose
USS Enterprise (CVN-65) Climax
USS Everett F. Larson (DD-830) Walter
USS Forster (DER-34) Circle Drive
USS Forrestal (CVA-59) Handbook
USS Henry B Wilson (DDG-7) Black Velvet
USS Hoel (DDG-13) Locomotive
USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) Cross Walk
USS Samuel N. Moore (DD-747)  Macaroon
USS New Jersey (BB-62) Onrush
USS Newport News (CA-148) Thunder
USS Oklahoma City (CLG-5) Fireball
USS Providence (CLG-6) Fighting Devil
USS St Francis River (LSMR-525) Abbey Tango
USS St. Paul (CA-73) Tornado
USS Truxton (APD-98) Eagle Runner
USS Vega (AF-59) Thunderbolt Mike
USS White River (LSMR-536) Jilt Foxtrot
USS William V Pratt (DLG-14) Sea Rogue
USCGC Taney (WHEC-37) Catapult Juliett
USCGC Wachusett (WHEC-44) Swinging Kingdom Zulu
USCGC Pontchatrain (WHEC-70) Pigsticker
US Coast Guard WPB 82308, Pt. White Ziggy Yankee


Task Force 115 (Swift Boat) Call Signs
(Many thanks to Larry Wazikowski and other Swifties for this information)


Call Sign

An Thoi Coastal Surveillance Center

Marshy Nephew, then Barbados

COMBOATRON 1 Rusty Jones
BOATRON 1 Units Grimes Pass
COMPCFDIV 101 Francis Bravo
PCFDIV 101 Units Assort Foxtrot
COMPCFDIV 102 Hamilton Kilo, later Assort Mike
PCFDIV 102 Units Ledger India, later Newsboy India
COMPCFDIV 103 Pride Zebra
PCFDIV 103 Units Woolworth Bravo
COMPCFDIV 104 Expert Yankee
PCFDIV 104 Units Trimness Lima
COMPCFDIV 105 Caribou Bravo
PCFDIV 105 Units Hackwood Sierra
COMPCFDIV 107 Capitol Zebra
PCFDIV 107 Boundry Lima
COMTF115 Latch
TF115 Units Alone
COMTG115.1 Article
TG115.1Units Flip Flop
COMTU115.1.1 New Dalton 
TU115.1.1Units Neighborhood
COMTU115.1.2 Cornelius
TU115.1.2 Units Kit Kat
COMTG115.2 Halo Shampoo
TG115.2 Units Caviar
COSDIV 12 Units Turkey Dinner
Coastal Division 13 Sepia
Coastal Division 13 PCF's Elbow Golf + Hull Number
COSDIV 16 (Chu Lai) Oxwood
Nha Trang Coastal Surveillance Center Halo Shampoo
Qui Nhon CSC (Coastal Surveillance Center) Flashy
Vung Tau CSC Sepia, and later, Wisdom Tooth
CTG 76.5 Company Store
CTG 77.9 (Yankee Station) Regency
CTG 77.1 (Sea Dragon) White Deer
CTU 77.1.1 (South Yankee Station) Argentina
YR-71 Hexagon 71
APL-55 Spike 55


Task Force 116 (PBR's/STAB's)


Call Sign

Commander TF 116 (at Ben Luc)

Atlantic Island

Mine Division 113


MSM-14, Mine Division 113 (Nha Be) Shapeless 89
Naval Operations Center, Cua Viet Big Dance, boats were Kirkwood #
River Section 511 Sky Eagle
River Section 511 -  Commanding Officer Hand Lash
River Section 515 Rock Creek, and later, Warsaw
River Section 522 Moosejaw, and later, Woodholly
River Section 531 Last Shot (located at Ben Keo)
River Section 532 in My Tho Druid
River Section 533 Seahorse (Cat Lo & Nha Be), later Michaelangelo (My Tho)
River Division 533 Golden Nugget
River Section 534 Pineapple Bowl, and later, Ascertain
River Division 535 Five Days
River Section 543 Stingray, and later, Confession
River Section 551 7/68-7/69 Blossom
River Section 551 Red Devil
River Section 552 in Vinh Te Canal Literary

River Section 552 at Tra Cu


River Division 571 Duck Farm - Iron Hat
River Division 572 (Song Ong Doc) Attain
River Section 593 Shapeless 40-51 or perhaps 55
River Section 593 (Giant Slingshot) Guilt Xray

RPG 59 at Thuy Nhon

Red Devil

SEAL Platoon ?? at Binh Thuy Blacksheep
SEAL Detachment, Nha Be Barracuda
SEAL Team One, Det. Golf's Mike Boat Porpoise 23
STABRON 20 Racing Danger

Other Call Signs of Interest:

Highest Ranking Officer: General Westmoreland: Maharaja

COMSeventhFleet - Jehovah (formerly Blackbeard)

Spotter Planes:
Cat Killer (Army)
Bird Dog (Air Force) - Tamale
Pappy (flew a Bronco in the Danang area)

Other Air Support:
9th Div. Artillery OH23G - Snow Snake
VP-2 (Patrol Squadron 2) - Cape Cod
VP-47 (PB3 Orion) - Seashell

Vietnamese Navy Headquarters - Swirley Pattern

Aircraft Control - Waterpipe

Chu Lai Defense Command - Evening Star
Hue Defense Command - Socialite Alfa
Decca Station at Cu Lao Re - Decca Green

Boundry of 2C and 2D - (Any City)
Cuo Lao Re - (Any Cigarette)
Mui Batangan - (Any Street)
Mui An Hoa - (Any Beer)
Cap Sa Hoi - (Any Animal)
Cap Mia - (Any Disney Character)

Marine Corps:
CG, 1st MARDIV - Corsair
1st MARDIV - Complex (coll.)
Air Observer (USMC) - Black Coat
1st Marines/RLT-1 - Blackwell
1st BN, 1st Marines/BLT-1/1 - Today
All Stations This Net (1st MARDIV) - Crew Cut
NGF Liaison Team - 26 Oscar (preceded by After Burner in Area I, and Salted Flakes in Area II)
NILO Chu Lai - Iron Pellets Charlie
CG, III MAF - Franchise
TF Xray - Emery Wheel
CG, 3rd MARDIV - Sudden Death
Flare Ship - Spooky
III MAF - Negotiate
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadrons HMM-165 - Bear Cat-1


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