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'Swift Boats At War In Vietnam' Exhibit Opens At Maritime Museum Of San Diego

Swift Boat PCF 816, part of the Maritime Museum’s permanent collection.
Maritime Museum of San Diego
Swift Boat PCF 816, part of the Maritime Museum’s permanent collection.
'Swift Boats At War In Vietnam' Exhibit Opens At Maritime Museum Of San Diego
'Swift Boats At War In Vietnam' Exhibit Opens At Maritime Museum Of San Diego GUESTS: Doc White, swift boat skipper Kevin Sheehan, manager of collections, Maritime Museum of San Diego

The war in the US was unlike otherwise which involve fighting in the climate. They have many inland waterways and the US needed a special type of watercraft to navigate the rivers to move troops and monitor the duties of the enemy. Now the history of these patrol craft fast or Swift boats is the subject of a new exhibit. Joining me is Kevin she and manager collections at the University of San Diego. And dog white a Swift boat skipper from the year 1969 to 1970. Will come. A lot of people are familiar with Swift boats the the movie Apocalypse now and that long journey of the river in Vietnam. Have you ever seen a really accurate depiction of how was to be on a Swift boat during the war. Keep in mind those were actually PVRs that were the smaller version they a 30 foot boats that were skippered by a first-class petty officer. I would say not have never seen anything that was accurate about Swift boats. It's a lot of responsibility for such a young guy. The everything back and say how in the world did I do that at that age. I think apart the joy of it was that we were young so a stupid we did not know what we could not do and then we were surrounded by people our age and made the decisions of where he would go and who we would work with. It would be a group of drivers and seals and maybe special forces and maybe the CIA are we do our own option we would make our decisions on where we will go and what we were trying to accomplish. In some ways it was later when I flew fighters for us to be able to be JG's and the tenant and making our own decisions without anybody looking over our shoulders was quite nice. Docs firsthand account is one of a number of stories included in a new book called Swift boats at war. That fax serves as the basis for this new exhibit. What will visitors get to experience the Maritime Museum. One of the things they will experience beyond the immediate exhibit is a sense of place and time and being taken back to what it was like to serve -- serve in Vietnam and the late 60s and early 70s. Had a vessel here in San Diego and talking to doctors before this interview I was asking him just how many Swift boat sailors would have passed through and he said probably 80% over the past few as part of their training before they even got to Vietnam. So this boat that they have as part of their memory and I guess what we would say is that we tried to convey a memory that is so different from the modern US society images of Southeast Asia and where we are in the world today but is very much valid and vibrant for the young men who served on Vietnam.. You will see the display and the series of photographs that are evocative at the time there a formal shot better with repairing and getting ready for action. Why is this boat that was used for training believed to be the last remaining boat. This was given along with another one. Babe used for coastal defense and patrol that is conducted by the Navy and Mediterranean. Things to any number of people it was eventually brought back here and was restored and the back. The issue of discourse during the run for the White House. How do you think that was affected for sailors. I am not sure if you're aware of the history. They were in the same country for four months and served well with a certain star which were above and beyond reproach but when it came back they didn't interview with the Washington the star MMA said that the people which was the coastal division which I was and as a matter of policy shot women and children. That newspaper is no longer in service but when he decided to run the number of the Swift boat guys wrote him and then we are proud that a Swift boat guys running for president but we would like it he would apologize for the things he said. They were heady times and you are passionate and we would like it. The wicked is an apology. He would not do it The sisters were arrested and their commitment the place in history after the controversy that all of us went through during the presidential election. What we are trying to do is capture snippets of the past and try to emphasize that beyond controversy what is valid is the experience that these guys had over there. What is really vital while we still have time is to capture that experience recorded and presented. I do guess that we are in a way revisiting the controversy not so much as the lives of these young men but also the ones that did not come back. I have been speaking with Kevin she had former Swift boat skipper. Swift boats at war is on display at the San Diego Maritime Museum now until November. Thank you both very much.

The history of swift boats is the subject of a new exhibit at the San Diego Maritime Museum.

"Swift Boats At War In Vietnam" features firsthand accounts of sailors who served on swift boats, photographs, paintings by Vietnam War combat artist John Steele, along with what is believed to be the last remaining swift boat.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to go on a naval history bay tour aboard the 50-foot, aluminum vessel.


Swift Boats At War In Vietnam

When: Now- Nov. 14, 2017

Where: San Diego Maritime Museum

Cost: Free - $16

The exhibit, which will run through Veteran's Day, is based on the new book "Swift Boats At War In Vietnam."

More than 3,500 sailors patrolled 1,500 miles of Mekong Delta waterways in Vietnam.

Doc White, a swift boat skipper and Kevin Sheehan, manager of the collections at the Maritime Museum of San Diego discuss Thursday on Midday Edition, America's swift boat mission in Vietnam.