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NEWS | Feb. 16, 2021

Transportation museum welcomes new patrol boat

By Staff Sgt. Joshua Magbanua 633d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Army Transportation Museum on Fort Eustis welcomed a new addition to its collection of historic vessels Feb. 8, 2021.

The museum staff recently procured a Patrol Boat, River Mark II (PBR MK II) from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. The vessel is expected to enhance the museum’s mission of educating the community about the history and evolution of Army transportation.

“When most people think of Army transportation, they think of trucks,” said Marc Sammis, the curator of the museum. “But it’s not just trucks: there are also planes, helicopters and boats. As a matter of fact, the Army uses watercraft more than any other means of transportation—it always has, and probably will for the near future.”

A relic of the Vietnam War, the U.S. Navy developed the PBR to help fulfill the demand for a fast and maneuverable craft to patrol the coastal and river waterways in Southeast Asia. The Army operated 39 PBRs through the 458th Transportation Company, under the 18th Military Police Brigade. These watercraft saw much action throughout the war, having been used to set up night ambushes to disrupt enemy supply lines, conduct waterway patrols, provide ammunition ship security and search sampans—traditional wooden boats used in various countries across East Asia.

Sammis noted the significance of the PBR’s arrival to his museum, saying it will help further enlighten the public about the Army’s often forgotten maritime mission.

The curator also hopes it will open the eyes of the public to the story of the 458th Transportation Company—which he said many people do not know about even within the transportation corps. He added although he doesn’t know much about the specific story behind the museum’s newly acquired PBR MK II, he looks forward to learning more about it upon further inspection and research.

Sammis also remarked that while the boat might no longer be seaworthy, it is still a sight to see. He encouraged members of the community to visit his museum—not just to admire the vibrant and enlightening exhibits, but to experience the full story of U.S. Army Transportation.

“The mission of our museum is to tell the story of U.S. Army transportation from its inception in 1775 to current operations,” he said. “If people come to our museum, they will see the vast amount of material and various means of transportation that the Army has used since its inception—everything from horses, wagons, mules, railroads, steamboats, watercraft of all kind … and aircraft as well.”