One of the newest, and, lesser known, areas of Patriots Point is the Vietnam Navy Support base which is located on the land side of the complex. The base is composed of a mess hall, communications shack, sick bay, watch tower and other support structures. At the moment, only the mess hall is open to the public. There are several helicopters in the complex, some ferried supplies and other saw action providing cover for patrol boats.The soundtrack to the area are Armed Forces Radio Vietnam (AFVN) broadcasts from that period.
The base was constructed by Buddy Sturges, the director of the South Carolina MilitaryMuseum in Columbia. US Navy Seabees also helped with construction. It was completed in 1993.
According to David Clark, Senior Curator and Director of Exhibits at Patriots Point, the centerpiece of the Support Base is a River Patrol Boat (PBR) which is currently undergoing restoration at Pierside Boatworks in North Charleston.
Clark said that Vietnam was the first inland water war the US had fought since the Civil War, which gave rise to the term "brown water navy." QAccording to the Patriots Point website, " The primary mission of the "Brown Water Navy" was to block the movement of insurgents and their supplies into South Vietnam."He also indicated that plans are afoot to move and expand the support base, hopefully in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the escalation of the war in Vietnam in 2015.
The support base is certainly worth a look when at Patriots Point, the soundtrack makes it particularly poignant and provides an appropriate backdrop to this recent chapter of our history.
Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, the home of. The USS Yorktown, is located in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, across the Ravenel Bridge from Charleston. Click here for admission details. A pleasant alternative to the bridge is the Charleston Water Taxi which runs every hour on the half hour from Aquarium Wharf in downtown Charleston. Click here for water taxi details.