|The U.S. Army has boats? Yep. Why? Why ask why.
Army boats played a role in my first two novels (LCM-8 mike boats in The Ice Beneath You and an LSV in Voodoo Lounge...click the link and order yourself a copy today). The Army Waterborne is a small field, run by warrant officers and NCOs for the most part. The Army Waterborne was at its largest during Vietnam. But the field predates Vietnam, and exists today. There are reserve units scattered around, but in the active army the majority of the field is concentrated in the 7th Transportation Group at Ft. Eustis, VA, the most frequently deployed brigade-size unit in the U.S. Army. There are some active-duty boaties left in Hawaii, but the other main boat stations--units in Panama and the Azores--closed in the 1990s.
Some of the boat units in 7th Group during my time in included:
1098th Medium Boat Co. (Seadogs)--the last active-duty Mike Boat (LCM-8) unit, with 14 boats in 2 line platoons. And last of the great Vietnam trio 1097, 1098, 1099.
73rd Trans Co.--the army's largest company, and home of the tug boats.
329th and 97th Heavy Boat Companies--the LCU-2000 companies.
558th Trans Co.--these are the boys and girls in the greasy coveralls.
335th Trans Detachment--the crew of the USAV General Frank S. Besson, LSV-1, the first of the LSVs. The LSV-4 and LSV-6 are also in 7th Group.
497th Engineer Co.--the army's last active-duty port construction company.
After graduating from army basic training at Ft. Knox and 88L10 school at Ft. Eustis (Echo Company), I volunteered for 1098th, and went from E-1 to E-4 in that company, mostly in Second Platoon. I was detached to the 710th Provisional Boat Company for duty in Somalia 1992-1993. I later volunteered for LSV-4 because I wanted to go to Italy, and was saved from that request by a very wise 1098th First Sergeant (1SG Walters), who sent me instead to LSV-1 for a hard-sailing year and a half that eventually took us to Port-au-Prince on Day One of Operation Restore Hope.
A few Waterborne links and pictures:
Army Transportation Museum
Vietnam Mike Boat Group
Vietnam Army Trans Assoc
Above: Two mike boats (LCM-8s) meeting mid-channel, near the James River Dead Fleet, Ft. Eustis, VA.
I think I'm in that picture somewhere...