SEA TIGERS OF VUNG RO BAY
US Army 458th Transportation Co.
US Army 18th Military Police Brigade
During the Vietnam War the United States Military employed heavily-armed high-speed gunboats to intercept and disrupt enemy travel on the rivers and bays of South Vietnam. While the US Navy operated over 250 of these specialized watercraft, the US Army had less than 40.
Vung Ro Bay was one of nine outposts of the US Army 458th Transportation Company (PBR)
On February 15, 1965, U.S. Army Medevac pilot Lt. James S. Bowers spots a 130-foot North Vietnamese trawler unloading cargo on a remote beach in South Vietnam’s Vung Ro Bay. He calls in airstrikes which capsize the trawler. Three days later, allied personnel reach the scene and find that the trawler was carrying about 100 tons of arms, ammunition, explosives, and other supplies intended for the Viet Cong.
The incident helps provide the final justification for Operation MARKET TIME. This combined U.S. Navy-U.S. Coast Guard-South Vietnamese navy coastal patrol operation is designed to stem the flow of smuggled supplies by sea from North to South Vietnam. During the next seven years, the patrol vessels and aircraft of MARKET TIME help thwart the great majority of infiltration by North Vietnamese coastal vessels.