SWCC, the U.S. Navy’s “best-kept secret,” has a rich history dating back to World War II, including their involvement in MACV-SOG and the Gulf of Tonkin Incident.
The Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen (SWCC), often called the U.S. Navy’s “best-kept secret,” have a rich history dating back to World War II. The Beach Jumpers were a psychological warfare unit that used agile boats to feign amphibious invasions on Axis-held beachheads, while the PT Boat Squadrons operated in the South Pacific, fighting against various Japanese targets. In 1964, the elite MACV-SOG unit was formed, which included Army Special Forces soldiers and a small detachment of Navy SEALs. Lt. j.g. Jim Hawes was one of five officers who helped stand up MACV-SOG/NAD, and his team took over OP PLAN 34-A, a CIA-run mission that conducted sabotage operations above the 17th parallel into North Vietnam. On the night of Aug. 3, 1964, Hawes’ team targeted North Vietnamese radar installations and security bases at the islands of Hon Niu and Hon Mat, which allegedly led to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and President Lyndon Johnson’s authorization to escalate U.S. efforts in Southeast Asia.