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The Command Control Boat (CCB-18) is the last known surviving boat of the Mobile Riverine Force. It arrived safely in San Diego on Sunday, August 27, 2000, aboard the U.S. Naval Ship Sioux. See the photo page for a photo tour of her arrival in San Diego from her previous home in the Sacramento River near Rio Vista, California. The photos also give you an indication of her present condition, what we'll be referring to in the future as the "before" photos.
As many of you know, former PBR maintenance warrant officer Ralph Fries has been working for several years on building a Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument on the Council International Sport Military (CISM) Field on the US Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, California. While mainly dedicated to commemorating the Navy and Coast dead in Vietnam, the Memorial will also carry the names of the 9th Army dead as well, since they were a partner in the Mobile Riverine Force Operations. As a part of that monument there will be a Small Boat Display depicting the three Task Forces of US Navy combatant boats which made up the Brown Water Navy: a Task Force 115 Swift boat (PCF-104), a Task Force 116 PBR, and CCB-18, representing the Mobile Riverine Force boats of Task Force 117. The static display PBR has been on-site for some time. The PCF-104 has been undergoing restoration since arriving here in Coronado earlier this year. She will be ready to be moved to CISM field within the next month or so, in time for dedication ceremonies to be held on Veteran's Day, Saturday, November 11, 2000. Swift boat sailors and PBR sailors will both be in town for their annual reunions and many MRF members will be here as well to join in the festivities associated with the dedication of PCF-104.
While it is not possible to have the CCB restored and displayed by that time, the plans have been submitted to the US Navy regional command and base commanders for approval of the three boat configuration. Now that the CCB has arrived in San Diego, our first job is to assess the needs for restoration. PCF-104 sets a high standard to which we also aspire for the restoration of the CCB. All of the boats come under the ownership of the Naval Historical Center. Custody of the boats belongs to each association which has the responsibility for raising manpower and money to both restore and maintain the boats in the future. A Memorandum of Understanding exists which provides a guide for the relationship between the Naval Historical Center, the active duty commands, and the three associations. There is tremendous support and goodwill generated by the active duty military for the completion of the monument and small boat display. Astute commanders of various components on Coronado immediately recognized the importance to their personnel of linking with their historical roots to provide insight into current tactical and strategic resources employed in today's Navy.
As you will see in the photos, there are a number of things required to restore the CCB to its original glory. While this training boat which arrived in Mare Island in early 1969 never saw combat, it is nevertheless our link to the past and we intend to depict it as if it were heading down river for an operation. To that end, lots of equipment needs to be fabricated or rescued from the junk piles. Although we will develop a volunteer work party composed of members of all three associations, many items will need to be purchased and in some cases, paid labor will be necessary.
Your donations are what has made this mission possible. Many have donated to help the project progress to this point. If you would like to assist personally with additional funding to help with maintaining the CCB in good condition then here's how to do so:
Make your check payable to MRFA CCB Fund and send it to:
1857 County Rd. A-14
Decorah, IA 52101
The CCB-18 has been moved from the Navy sand blast facility into its final resting place on the Memorial site at CISM Field on the Naval Amphibious Base at Coronado, CA on February 16, 2001. The costs to date of paint and materials, crane, trucking company, etc. has taken a heavy toll on the CCB Fund. We hope that if you have not yet contributed, you would consider doing so now. See the pictures and the story of the hard work involved in getting the CCB to the Memorial site at these two links: Photo Page 2 and Photo Page 3
On Memorial Day we began what we hope will be a continuing tradition at the memorial site. With a very nice tribute to Tony Chandler from the Swift Boat Sailors Association on the table above, several members observed this Memorial Day by reading aloud the names of the casualties of all three Task Forces 115, 116 and 117. Pictured is Don Blankenship reading the names of the 2,583 9th Infantry Division casualties.
With the repercussions following the events of September 11, 2001, work has slowed somewhat on the memorial and on the CCB. However, we still persist in preparing the inside of the boat for paint and hope to weatherize her before the rains start this winter. In general, the exterior of the boat is in good shape and we just need to keep going on the inside preparation. Only retired military have access to the base now so our work party is smaller but we've got some dedicated guys who deserve a great deal of thanks for continuing to work on the boat.
We have been able to resume the monthly work parties on the third Saturday of the month and hope to have the inside painted by the time the reunion rolls around in June. We also hope to acquire weapon replicas for the boat and have them in place by the dedication date of June 29, 2002. We can certainly use additional contributions to accomplish this because the replicas are over $300 each.
Weapons were acquired, antennae added, the boat exterior paint was touched up and most of the interior spaces were painted out in preparation for our dedication ceremony on the 29th of June. What a great event! Many reunion attendees were able to board the boat and tour the topsides area prior to and after the ceremony. The boat sparkled in all its glory for all the hoopla and attention it received. After the reunion we continued with prepping, priming and painting the forward ammo locker and engine room, leaving only the after lazerette to have some real prepping and painting done. The untimely death of one of our great work party members, David Hearn, brought an air of sadness this summer but we know he is still with us in spirit working on "his" boat and we think of him each time we get together for work parties. We have a continuing need for funds to maintain the boat so please keep us in mind for a donation. And many thanks to all of you who donated thus far. We wouldn't have been able to accomplish what we have without you.
If you have any questions about the fund or need more information, please contact Albert Moore
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