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  • Exhibits
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  • Historical Summary
Wars & Conflicts
  • Vietnam Conflict 1962-1975
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  • Hampton Roads Naval Museum

PBR Briefing
Caption: Naval personnel routinely reviewed intelligence. Lieutenant Ronald Beers briefs two U.S. Navy river patrol boat (PBR) captains, Quartermaster First Class Steward Hickman (center) and Boatswain's Mate First Class R.W. Guyton, on the day's river activities. The PBRs search boats for Viet Cong arms and ammunition and supplies in the rivers of the Mekong Delta and Rung Sat Special Zone. (Naval History and Heritage Command)



Knowing the Enemy: Naval Intelligence During the War

Virtually all military actions in Vietnam depended on accurate and timely intelligence. During the war, naval intelligence personnel provided information that enabled successful Navy operations, influenced tactical victories, and saved the lives of Americans and their allies. The Navy benefited from and coordinated efforts with other military branches, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. The Office of Naval Intelligence established the Fleet Intelligence Center Pacific Facility in the Philippines to analyze and disseminate this information to naval forces in Vietnam. From the air, sea, and land, Sailors collected information about North Vietnamese and Viet Cong plans and capabilities. Their missions were dangerous and often deadly. Though certainly not without failures, naval intelligence hindered seaborne supply from North to South Vietnam, identified targets for attack aircraft, and helped riverine forces keep control of the vital Mekong Delta.


Capture of Chinese Rocket
Caption: Intelligence was often gathered during the course of regular missions. A Chinese-manufactured 122mm rocket launcher is inspected by the Navy personnel that captured it. In the early morning hours of July 9, 1968, Patrol Boat River (PBR) captain Boatswain's Mate First Class Dollis Sewell Jr. (far left) sighted an enemy sampan on the Dong Nai River approximately 10 miles east of Saigon. The sampan was promptly captured by elements of PBR River Section 551 commanded by Lieutenant Ralph Santi (far right). (Naval History and Heritage Command)


Published: Thu Apr 22 04:05:02 EDT 2021