Crew Complement

The vast majority of swift boat crews consisted of: 1 - Lieutenant/Lieutenant junior grade/Ensign (boat commander)
1 - Quartermaster
1 - Radarman------------------- (the enlisted personnel ranged from
1 - Gunners' Mate--------- E3 seaman, to E6 Petty Officer First class)
1 - Engineman
1 - Boatswains' Mate

Although this was the normal rating configuration for a swift boat crew, many of the early crews had an RM - Radioman instead of a Radarman.

A few other ratings were also represented in the swift boat crews, they included:


- Firecontrolman

HM - Hospital Corpsman
MN - Mineman
MR - Machinery Repairman
SM - Signalman
STG - Sonarman
TM - Torpedoman
YN - Yeoman


The enlisted personnel were all extensively cross-trained in the other ratings so that an injured persons job could be done by another crewman.

The officer and either the quartermaster or radarman were also given intensive Vietnamese language training at a defense language school.

Also of note was the fact that the VAST majority of these swift boat crewmen volunteered for this duty. The normal tour of duty for a swift crewman was one year, in country, however numerous people volunteered for a second tour and a few even served three tours.


The most interesting part of the history of these personnel, those that served as swiftboat crewmen and staff,
is their success after they left swiftboat duty and Vietnam, as shown in the following statistics.

These people made the U.S. Military a career and were eminently successful, retiring as:


Officers in Vietnam % of approx 600
Retirees Selected who served
Admiral (4 Star) 1 1 0.167%
Vice Admiral (3 Star) 6 7 1.167%
Rear Amiral - Upper (2 Star) 8 15 2.500%
Rear Admiral - Lower (1 Star) 2 17 2.833%
Captain (O6) 101 118 19.67%
Commander (O5) 79 197 32.83%
Lieutenant Commander (O4) 44 241 40.17%
Enlisted in Vietnam % of approx 3,000
Retirees Selected who served
Flag (O7) 1 1 0.0003%
Captain (O6) 0 1 0.0003%
Commander (O5) 4 6 0.200%
Lieutenant Commander (O4) 13 19 0.633%
Lieutenant (O3) 4 23 0.767%
Lieutenant Junior Grade (O2) 1 24 0.800%
Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CWO4) 16 16 0.533%
Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CWO3) 5 21 0.700%
Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CWO2) 8 29 0.967%
Master Chief (E9) 38 67 2.233%
Senior Chief (E8) 66 133 4.433%
Chief (E7) 198 331 11.033%
Petty Officer First Class (E6) 145 476 15.867%
Of Note:
     The enlisted numbers for CWO2-4 are lower than actual counts as many of these officers were also selected for Chief, Senior Chief and Master Chief before accepting a Warrant Officer's commission.
     Also many of the O2-7 served as CWOs and/or as Chief, Senior Chief and Master Chief before accepting either a regular line commission or an LDO commission.  

     Bear in mind that of the approximately 600 officers who served on Swifts, only some 525-550 have actually been identified as of 2 December 2012.
     And of the approximately 3,000 enlisted who served on Swifts, only some 2,300-2,400 have actually been identified as of 2 December 2012.

So all the numbers above are more probably than not statistically LOW!



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This page was last updated on:  January 01, 2014 at 15:18