1960s Ammo Recovered from River in Vietnam Still Looks Minty Fresh
Vietnamese media recently reported on a pile of vintage .50 caliber BMG ammo that was recovered from the mud of the Tiền River that looks like it just came from the factory.
Local media showed members of the Vietnamese Army inspecting the ammo, reportedly illegally salvaged from the river near Thuong Phuoc and confiscated by Border Guards. It has been underwater for decades.
Some reports mention the ammo, of which over 37,500 rounds were recovered, may have come from a lost PCF boat.
The PCF, or Patrol Craft, Fast, were a class of 50-foot all-aluminum boats used by the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.
Capable of making over 25 knots and floating in just five feet of brackish water, the PCFs earned the name "Swift Boats" in use.
Swift boats were also used extensively to shuttle troops, SEALs, and reconnaissance units around South Vietnam's myriad of river systems as part of the so-called "Brown Water Navy," best remembered today by PBR Streetgang in the film "Apocalypse Now."
Armed with a twin .50 cal mount forward and a piggyback 81mm mortar/M2 heavy machine gun mount over the stern, these 50-foot boats packed a punch.
Over 190 Swift boats of all types were ordered by the Navy for use in Southeast Asia between 1965 and 1972, with most later transferred to the military of South Vietnam. According to the Swift Boat Sailors Memorial, 11 were lost, four in combat and seven to rough weather, although it is not sure which craft may have recently been illegally salvaged or if the vessel was in Vietnamese or U.S. service when lost. Notably, the ammo recovery was near the Vietnam/Cambodia border.