Alpha Photos

Home Up


AlphaBoatbanner.jpg (7121 bytes)

The MRF served several functions up the rivers but was principally involved in ferrying and supporting the movement of 9th Army troops around the delta (I call this "operations" or "ops"). For most of the boats this was all they did all year. The Assault Support Patrol Boat (ASPB), better known as an Alpha Boat was the Destroyer/Minesweeper of the fleet.  Two Alpha's usually headed each column of boats and one generally took up the rear position in the column (generally considered the worst place to be).

The Alpha had additional duties which provided enough variation to make the time move a little faster (how many and a wake up?). We supported mobile fire bases. These were heavier Army artillery on floating barges.  Occasionally, we acted as tug boats moving barges here and there. We were involved in interdiction efforts sometimes with the PBR's, where search and seizure was the day time task and ambush was on the night time agenda (we didn't work 24 hours, we rotated). The last and, by far, the most boring was Base Interior Defense, or BID patrol. This involved circling the ships at the MRB and dropping quarter-pound TNT grenades in the water every 100 yards or so, to burst the eardrums and other organs of any potential sappers who might try to attach a mine to a ship (i.e., the Westchester County). Not that this type of duty wasn't dangerous. The TNT blocks came with a hole in them but it was typical for one to ream out the hole with a screw driver and then screw in the grenade handle with blasting cap. The rest was pulling the pin and throwing. But one red-headed BM2 or BM3 Alpha boat sailor blew himself over board mishandling TNT up near Ben Luc while circling the LST Harnett County. And I almost forgot another typical duty... we were the boat crews who had to fish dead bodies out of the river and put them in body bags. That was the worst. One additional duty was running escort for the private shipping that went up the main river channels to Saigon. We did that with PBR's too. It was pretty boring waiting on the banks, but then when a ship finally appeared, it was like racing. Those tankers and freighters hauled buns at 20 plus knots. We could only stay up with them for a few hundred yards and another boat would take them for the next relay leg. It seems we were only concerned with them getting supplies in because I don't recall escorting any going out, although it's possible we did. 

Here are the plans of the first version of the Alpha boat from a 1967 NavShips Manual:

BoatsofUSN.jpg (77469 bytes) BoatsofUSN2.jpg (55257 bytes) aspb1967.jpg (87753 bytes)


Here are pictures of A-111-3:

A_111_3_a.jpg (40701 bytes)  111-3-12.jpg (16584 bytes)

111-3-13.jpg (31593 bytes)  111-3-32.jpg (18252 bytes)

The Alpha above on the right is A-111-4

111-3-01.jpg (35077 bytes)



<bgsound src="forwhatitsworthBSpringfield.wav" loop=infinite>

Home Dedication PreVietnam NIOTC Arrival RivRon11 RivRon15 DongTam Boats Maps MRF History NIOTC MRF History 1967-68 Ops Reports OpSlingshot Glossary Links Medals Patches Call Signs Medevac Other Photos Other Pics MRF Photos Uniforms PostVietnam So.Viet.Navy Whitfield Cty. Email Veterans Day Casualties Commando 1975 Thank You Pearl Harbor PG Riders WTC Tribute

Copyright 1999-2014 by Don Blankenship. You may use the images, descriptions, stories or text within this site, with proper credit,  for non-commercial, not-for-profit purposes only. In the event you wish to use any material contained within this site for commercial, for-profit purposes, permission must be obtained from the author, Don Blankenship, in advance of such use. All rights reserved. Click email if you have comments. Thanks for your interest in learning about the Mobile Riverine Force.