History of The YRBM-20 (Vietnam)


The YRBM-20, known as the “Delta Hilton”, was a floating Brown Water Navy base in Vietnam during 1969 and 1970. YRBM stands for “Yard Repair Berthing and Messing” It was not self propelled. A barge tied to the stern had diesel outboards to move the YRBM when needed. The vessel was located on a wide spot in the Bassac River, the tributary of the Mekong River south of the town of Chau Doc in Chau Doc Province very near the Cambodian border. Detachments assigned to the YRBM-20 patrolled the French built border canals nearby. One canal ran between the Bassac River and Ting Binh. Another ran to the Mekong River.

The YRBM 20 had freezers and refrigerators and at times was the best dining spot in the Province.

Photo Courtesy of Bob Gregory

Photo Courtesy of Bob Gregory


Photo courtesy of Skip Burns

The YRBMs were vulnerable to mines. A swimmer could float down the river in the 1 to 6 knot current and place a mine on the hull. In the daytime the bow watch would shoot under any debris or water plants floating nearby with a carbine. At night an outboard motor boat would circle and the YRBM and the bow watch would randomly toss concussion grenades into the river. When the current slowed down in the dry summer season there was also a stern watch set with a carbine and grenades. This was on a stern fuel and pusher barge with it’s diesel outboard motors. See Kent Hawley’s YRBM-20 web site. It is an excellent site, be sure and check it out.

YRBM-20 Today - Photo Courtesy of Bob Gregory

YRBM-20 Today – Photo Courtesy of Bob Gregory

Awards earned during the Vietnam War: Navy Unit Commendation, RVN Gallantry Cross with Palm, RVN Civil Action Medal, First Class, with Palm, RVN Campaign Medal with 60’s device and the Vietnam Service Medal.