PCF-104 Restoration

PCF-104 Coronado 1968

PCF-104 Coronado 2005

Music by Arlo Guthrie�

In 1997, LCDR Robert N. Geis happened to spot a Swift Boat (Patrol Craft Fast) in a salvage yard at the Naval Submarine Base in Bangor, Washington. He recognized the boat as the same type his father, LCDR Neil Geis, had served with in the late 1960's on the staff of Coastal Squadron One. In talks with local salvage people, it was learned that the craft had not been disposed of because it was felt the boat might be useful to some veteran's group. In order to gain time pending disposition, they had purposedly left blank appropriate entries in the paper work indicating the value of the craft. This delayed further processing of approvals. Within two weeks, Neil Geis had pictures taken of the find for use during efforts to obtain possession of the craft.

The Swift Boat found in Bangor salvage yard

Crew that delayed the boat being scrapped

These efforts eventually proved successful, and in January 2000 PCF-104 (the boat's original designation) was transported to the US Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado where volunteers would be able to start the restoration process and add the Swift Boat to the PBR (Patrol Boat River) already at the base along with the in-work Command Control Boat of the Mobile Riverine Force veteran's organization. All three boats would become part of the envisioned Vietnam Unit Memorial to be located on the base.

Lifting PCF-104 onto the flatbed truck

Safely secured on the flatbed

A few emotional stops between Bangor and San Diego to let Swift Boat sailors get a close up look

Reception party upon arrival at Coronado

Swift sailors check out their new acquisition

Shore Intermediate Maintenance Activity (SIMA) Sea Bees move the 104 to the restoration pad

Swiftys ready to get to work restoring PCF-104

New haze gray paint. Refurbished pilot house. Relocation to the new concrete pad next to the PBR
The initial rework was finished just in time for the 2000 reunion and dedication ceremony

Then came the tasks of adding details: lights, antennas, life rings and raft, guns, the ammo box, etc
Including restoration of the interior and installation of instruments and other period artifacts
Plus the ongoing TLC maintenance and the small but vital touches that turn a boat into a treasure
Swift Boat sailors were also instumental in the construction of the Vietnam Unit Memorial wall

The payoff was seeing the Swift join the other boats in the emerging Vietnam Unit Memorial
The restored craft soon became the focus of many personal visits and ceremonies by Swift sailors
And just before the VUM Dedication, PCF-104 was completed in its final Battle Colors paint scheme

The Memorial and SBSA's Swift Boat are established as an emotional treasure of service to country
A symbol of pride and accomplishment to both the past and current sailors of the Brownwater Navy

Swift Boat Sailors Day celebrated on May 5, 2007 as part of the 2007 San Diego Reunion

Some of the hardworking sailors and wives that made the memorial possible

Information on obtaining access to and visiting the Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument

This web site is Copyright � 2002 by Robert B. Shirley.
All rights reserved.

Click on image to return to the homepage