MOBILE  RIVERINE FORCE ASSOCIATION

CALL SIGNS

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 member 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 Mike Harris at the email address below 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.

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Latest Update: 09/23/15

Mobile Riverine Force – Task Force 117 Units
UNITCall Sign
COMNAVFORVMoose Hunter - Bulky Baton (Zumwalt)
ComRivFlot 1Kris Kringle, Gannymead 6 (CAPT J.C. Now)
RivFlot1, Detachment Dong TamFirst Citizen
ComRivRon 9Adhesive Tape
ComRivDiv 91Blue Swords
River Division 91 BoatsDragonfly (Alfa 3, Mike 1, etc.)
ComRivDiv 92January Juliet, Oral Stamp ('68-'69)
River Division 92 BoatsSair 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 BoatsRacey Scalp
ComRivDiv 112 (Lt. Dana French 1969)Chemist, Gesture Alpha (1969)
River Division 112 BoatsPlain Genius
ComRivRon 13Snow Whirl then Arabian Knight
ComRivRon StaffInlet Sierra - Ops Officer - Inlet Sierra 3
ComRivDiv 131Mariner India 
River Division 131 BoatsRetain Whiskey
ComRivDiv 132Keybrook Yankee '68-'69, then Brassrail 26
River Division 132 BoatsMainyard Papa
River Squadron 13 Repair BossArabian Knight 4
ComRivRon 15Dictograph (CDR W.C. Deal), 
ComRivDiv 151Admiral India - Madeira Quebec
River Division 151 BoatsLadder Echo
ComRivDiv 152Jangle Victor 
River Division 152 BoatsLadder Xray
ComRivDiv 153
River Division 153/595 BoatsFarmdale
Birch Reports
Porterly Topic
Support Units/Ships/Vessels of the MRF and NSA, Saigon
UNITCall Sign
EOD Team 39Chemist 1 & 2
APL-26Spike 26
APL-30Spike  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 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
USS Kemper County (LST-854)Aloha Zulu
USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63)War Eagle
USS Krishna (ARL-38)Capetown Tango
USS Luzerne County (LST-902)Vicksburg Quebec
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 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 Weiss (LPD-135)Admiral Whiskey
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-5Gentleman Jim 5
YR-71Choking Dipper
YRBM-16Jato 16
YRBM-17 at Dong TamCentral Shovel - One Seven
YRBM-18 (formerly APL 55)Jato 18 (was Spike 55)
YRBM-21Jato 21
YTB-784Glennhill Foxtrot
YTB-785Bacardi Sierra
Command Salvage Boats (CSB) - (Harbor Clearance Unit-1)Baby Giant 1, 2, 3 & 4
River Assault Division 131 Staff - Song Ong DocBrassrail 41
Naval Support Activities/Bases/Detachments/Ground Support/Army Units*
UNITCall Sign
1st/11th ArtilleryCaisson
HHC 2nd Brigade Aviation (Spotter AC)Cyclops
2nd/47th/9thPanther
3rd Brigade COGun Fighter 6
3rd/34th Artillery BattalionGunner
3rd/34th, Fire Direction CenterGunner 09
3rd/34th, B Battery, Fire Direction CenterGunner 59
3rd/34th, B Battery, COGunner 56
3rd/34th, C BatteryCharlie 2-9
3rd/34th FO's attached to 3rd/60thGunner 51, 52 and 53
3rd/47th/9thLangley
3rd/47th/9th 4.2 MortarsMike
3rd/60th/9thPatron, Neptune
4th/47th/9thFallen Towns
5th/60th/9th, B Co. COViolent Patter
6th/31st/9thHunter
9th Infantry Division Artillery - OH-23'sSnowsnake
9th Aviation Battalion - Company A - "Gunships"Stingray
9th Aviation Battalion - Company B "Slicks"Jayhawk
9th Infantry DivisionPython
9th Inf. Commanding General: Major General Julian J. EwellReliable Six
9th Inf., 2nd Brigade CO and Asst. Div. Commander (General Fulton)Masher Six
57 Med Detachment (Helo Ambulance)  Dustoff
191st Assault Helicopter Company Slick  Platoons (White and Yellow)Boomerang #
191st Assault Helicopter Company Gunship Platoon (Red)Bounty Hunter
1097th Mobile BattalionWhy Gossip
USAF FAC Command Post (With 9th Div CP at Bearcat)Tamale Control
USAF FAC aircraftTamale-xx (with numerical designator added)
USAF Tactical Air Liaison Officer (TALO)Tamale 09
USAF Tactical Airlift Liaison Airman (TALA)Tamale 09 Alfa
An Thoi Spotter PlanesBird Dog
Ben Keo NSALast Shot
Ben Luc NSAAtlantic Island
Binh Thuy ( call to launch an OV-10 strike)Red Rose
Cat LoCourtly Grapes
Chu Lai Spotter PlanesJake
Cua Viet NSA DetachmentPlastic Charlie (Clipping in 1968)
Cua Viet NOCBig Dance
LCM-860 (Dodge City in Elephant Valley)Blueberry Pie
Dong Tam Salvage Boat
Dong Ha NSADamon
Go Dau Ha NSARemittance
ISDS Unit 1 (Improved Swimmer Defense System) attached to YRBM 21Amber Outfit
IUWG (Inshore Underwater Warfare Group) 1 Vung TauSenate
IUWG-1 / Unit 2 Cam Ranh BayFlaming Bush - Boats were Aphrodite
IUWG-1 / Unit 3 Qui NhonPaperwrap
IUWG-1 / Unit 4 Nha TrangAlamo Plaza
IUWG-1 / Unit 5 Vung RoLizard
Moc HoaDuckfern
Navy Communication Center, Dong TamBoxer Whiskey
NAVCOMMSTA, Cam Ranh BayRunnamuck
Navy Chopper CoverSeawolf 76 (OIC)
Navy Intelligence Liaison Officer (NILO) Tuyen Nhon - 1969Mystic Crawler Delta
NSA Dong TamBoxer Whiskey
NSA Nha BeCourtly Grapes
NSA SaigonBogus Genius (Add a number for a YFR operating from that location)
Phouc Xuyen area Canal Blocking OperationBrassrail
RAID 71 Navy AdvisorsFarfetch
RAID 72 Navy AdvisorsGreen Coffin Seven Two
SEAFLOATMunster
SEAL Teams at SEA FLOAT/SOLID ANCHOR at Nam CanTradewinds
MARS Station Dong TamAB8AZ
Mobile Support Team, Det C at SEA FLOAT/SOLID ANCHOR at Nam CanBlack Bear
Mobile Support Team 2, Binh ThuyBlack Sheep
Mobile Support Team -2, Mike BoatKanute One One
Mobile Support Team -2, Boston Whale SEAL insertion BoatSierra One
Tan AnWarsaw
Tay NinhLast Shot
Tra Cu (in the beek)Farmdale
Vung Tau Air SupportAbdul
Vung Tau Spotter PlanesShotgun

* 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,
Six was used for Commanding Officers (Langley Six was LTC Blackie Bolduc),
Five for Executive Officers or Second in Command
Four for Supply/Logistics Officers
Three for Operations Officers
Two for Intelligence Officers
One for Personnel Officers

Company Commanders were, for example,
Langley Alpha Six for A Company, 3rd/47th
Langley Bravo Six for B Company, 3rd/47th
Langley 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:
SYMBOLUNIT
Crossed SabersCavalry
Crossed CannonsArtillery
Crossed PistolsMilitary Police
Crossed RiflesInfantry
Flaming PotOrdnance
Wheels with SpokesTransportation
TankArmor
Lightning BoltSignal
CrossMedical
SYMBOLUNIT
xxxxArmy
xxxCorps
xxDivision
xBrigade
!!!Regiment
!!Battalion or Squadron
!Company, Troop or Battery
...Platoon
..Section
.Squad

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
UNITCall 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 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 Chevalier (DD-805)Reclaim
USS Conflict (MSO-426)  Camshaft Xray
USS Currituck (AV-7)Flying Goose
USS Enterprise (CVN-65)Climax
USS Forster (DER-334)Circle Drive
USS Forrestal (CVA-59)Handbook
USS Henry B Wilson (DDG-7)Black Velvet
USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2)Cross Walk
USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63)War Eagle
USS Loyalty (MSO-457)Scrappy Jaguar Yankee
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
USS Woodpecker (MSC-209)Scarecat Mike
USCGC Taney (WHEC-37)Catapult Juliett
USCGC Pontchatrain (WHEC-70)Pigsticker
Task Force 115 (Swift Boat) Call Signs

(Many thanks to Larry Wazikowski and other Swifties for this information)

UNITCall Sign
An Thoi Coastal Surveillance CenterMarshy Nephew, then Barbados
COMBOATRON 1Rusty Jones
BOATRON 1 UnitsGrimes Pass
COMPCFDIV 101Francis Bravo
PCFDIV 101 UnitsAssort Foxtrot
COMPCFDIV 102Hamilton Kilo, later Assort Mike
PCFDIV 102 UnitsLedger India, later Newsboy India
COMPCFDIV 103Pride Zebra
PCFDIV 103 UnitsWoolworth Bravo
COMPCFDIV 104Expert Yankee
PCFDIV 104 UnitsTrimness Lima
COMPCFDIV 105Caribou Bravo
PCFDIV 105 UnitsHackwood Sierra
COMPCFDIV 107Capitol Zebra
PCFDIV 107Boundry Lima
COMTF115Latch
TF115 UnitsAlone
COMTG115.1Article
TG115.1UnitsFlip Flop
COMTU115.1.1New Dalton 
TU115.1.1UnitsNeighborhood
COMTU115.1.2Cornelius
TU115.1.2 UnitsKit Kat
COMTG115.2Halo Shampoo
TG115.2 UnitsCaviar
COSDIV 12 UnitsTurkey Dinner
Coastal Division 13Sepia
Coastal Division 13 PCF'sElbow Golf + Hull Number
COSDIV 16 (Chu Lai)Oxwood
Nha Trang Coastal Surveillance CenterHalo Shampoo
Qui Nhon CSC (Coastal Surveillance Center)Flashy
Vung Tau CSCSepia, and later, Wisdom Tooth
CTG 76.5Company Store
CTG 77.9 (Yankee Station)Regency
CTG 77.1 (Sea Dragon)White Deer
CTU 77.1.1 (South Yankee Station)Argentina
YR-71Hexagon 71
APL-55Spike 55
Task Force 116 (PBR’s/STAB’s)
UNITCall Sign
Commander RSSZ River Patrol Group (CTG 116.9)Moon River
Commander TF 116 (at Ben Luc)Atlantic Island
Mine Division 113Shapeless
MSM-14, Mine Division 113 (Nha Be)Shapeless 89
Naval Operations Center, Cua VietBig Dance, boats were Kirkwood #
PBR Mobile Base 1 - I CorpsCurveball
River Section 511Sky Eagle
River Section 511 -  Commanding OfficerHand Lash
River Section 515Rock Creek, Warsaw & later Asternold
River Section 522Moosejaw, and later, Woodholly
River Section 531Last Shot (located at Ben Keo)
River Section 532 in My ThoDruid
River Section 533Seahorse (Cat Lo & Nha Be), later Michaelangelo (My Tho)
River Division 533Golden Nugget
River Section 534Ascertain, and later, Pineapple Bowl
River Division 535Five Days
River Section 543Stingray, and later, Confession
River Section 551 7/68-7/69Blossom
River Section 551Red Devil
River Section 552 in Vinh Te CanalLiterary
River Section 552 at Tra CuLansing
River Division 571Duck Farm - Iron Hat
River Division 572 (Song Ong Doc)Attain
River Section 593Shapeless 40-51 or perhaps 55
River Section 593 (Giant Slingshot)Guilt Xray
RPG 59 at Thuy NhonRed Devil
SEAL Platoon ?? at Binh ThuyBlacksheep
SEAL Detachment, Nha BeBarracuda
SEAL Team One, Det. Golf's Mike BoatPorpoise 23
STABRON 20Racing 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
179th AVN Co (ASH) – Shrimpboat
213th AVN Co (ASH) – Blackcat
219th AVN Co (ASH) – Headhunters
No 2 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force – Magpie 11, 21, 31, 41, 51, 61, 71 and 81
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

Locations:
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
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadrons HMM 265 – Bear Cat-2

Naval Hospital Danang – Burbank Medevac:
Hue to north of Danang – Barrelhouse Three
North of Danang to CG14 – Rose Ann Three
CG14 to CG16 – Nail File Three

Naval Aircraft:
VP4 – Elk Lodge
VP8 – Pin Stripe
VP16 – Spangle
VP17 – Free Transit
VP40 – Wiseman
VP42 – Yard Marker
VP46 – Mess Man
VP50 – Madness