Comments  from Bob Stoner

[ Here is a man with lots of small craft experience that will be a great asset to our recovery efforts. Thanks for stopping by - Dan]  

Hello Dan,

My name is Bob Stoner. I remember the PTFs well. I served with BSU-1 from 1970 to 1971 and with Coastal River Division 21 from 1972 to 1976. I took my basic PTF training on the 13 boat at Coronado, before I deployed with MST-2, Det. Charlie to Sea Float/Solid Anchor in Nam Can, RVN in May 1970. While there, we used Heavy Seal Support Craft (HSSC: an LCM-6), Medium Seal Support Craft (MSSC), and Light Seal Support Craft (LSSC). I returned to the U.S. on 5 December 1970.

In 1972, CRD21 was formed at Great Lakes, IL. Our first assets were PTF-17 and PTF-19. We later received PTF-18 which brought our total to 3. I had four great years of PTF service at Great Lakes. In our third and fourth years, we also operated three ASHVILLE-class PGMs. CRD21 was disestablished in July 1976. The picture of the PTF in "wave mirror" camouflage was shot by me from PTF-18 (I think it is of the -19 boat). (I've been in contact with Jim Gray and he got the photo from me which he provided to you.) Each PTF was camouflaged in different patterns by their crews during 1975, but I do not have photos of them. 

I was interested to see the comments from CWO4 Van Ooyen (he was on our maintenance team). We have a lot of PTF sailors about the Great Lakes area. I was surprised to find out how many of the PTFs had survived (in any condition). I remember seeing a yard full of PTFs awaiting disposition at Little Creek, VA in the early 1980s. I think these are part of the same group of survivors in the Tidewater area.

I retired from the USNR in 1987, after 23+ years as a GMCM (SW). Jim Gray just retired from the Special Boat Squadron as a Master Chief Gunner's Mate in 2000.

I also have other Brown Water Navy experience; my first tour with with the Mobile Riverine Force TF-117 assigned to USS NUECES (APB-40) from April 1969 to January 1970. Lots of sea stories from MRF, BSU, MST, and CRD21 days. 

You can reach me by e-mail at