USS Surprise (PG-97)

USS Surprise PG-97
Narrative and photos provided by Dave Donaldson


Each command within the U.S. Navy is authorized to display an emblem and motto symbolic of its mission. mission. Carrying on in this tradition the crew of the Surprise has selected a design by one of her own members, EM1 Luis Arenas. The emblem features an eagle perched atop a trident and shield, with lightning bolts grasped in one claw. The eagle and lightning bolts are symbolic of the ship’s motto, "Swift and Lethal," while the trident is the traditional symbol of sea power. The motto is descriptive of the mission and capabilities of the PG-92 class ship. The national colors, red, white, and blue, are employed as the color scheme of the emblem.

As a vessel name, SURPRISE has spanned nearly two centuries of U. S. Naval history; beginning with the Continental Cutter SURPRISE built in the mid 1770's and put into service on 1 March 1777 by the Continental Congress. The second SURPRISE was a Continental Sloop, also purchased and put into service in 1777. The third ship of this name, a heavily armed ketch, was built and stationed in New Orleans in 1815. The fourth SURPRISE, a forerunner in type as well as name, was built in England in 1942 and was put into service immediately as a convoy escort and submarine patrol boat. USS SURPRISE (PG-63) made an outstanding record for herself in her three years of service, most of which took place in the Caribbean Sea Frontier.

USS SURPRISE (PG-97), the fifth ship of the U. S. Navy to bear this name, is an ASHEVILLE/ TACOMA-Class patrol gunboat endowed with revolutionary power, speed, and maneuverability. The ship has an overall length of 165 feet with a 24-foot beam and displaces approximately 250 tons. Power is provided for the ship by two variable-pitched propellers which are driven by a combination of two diesels at cruising speeds and a gas turbine engine at high speeds. The ship is armed with a single 3-inch .50 caliber rapid-fire gun; one 40-mm gun; and, two twin .50 caliber machine guns.

SURPRISE and patrol gunboats of her new class were well suited for operations in the Cold War era. Her speed, maneuverability, and shallow draft enabled her to work close to enemy shores in support of counterinsurgency, guerrilla and conventional amphibious warfare operations. The interdiction of shipping, blockading harbors, and control of large areas of enemy coastline fell within her capabilities.

SURPRISE was built by Peterson Builders, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Her keel was laid on 24 May, 1968, she was launched on 7 December, 1968 and commissioned on 17 October, 1969 and decommissioned 28 February 1973 at Izmir, Turkey.

The SUPRISE was transferred to the Turkish Navy 28 February 1973; renamed BORA P-339 and stricken from the US Naval Register 8 August 1987 in Turkish custody.  Click here for a picture and description of the Turkish Naval Vessel BORA P-339.  A larger image can be found by clicking here.

Narrative and photos provided by Dave Donaldson.

Ship's Muster Sheet (Updated 12 March, 2014)

Brendt, Bernard Brotemarkle, James Burnett, Leland Eaton, James
Eriksson, Richard Ferini, Andre Fortino, Paul Harmon, Daniel
Hotten, Darrell Hughes, Roger Kiser, Hugh Kochik, George
Lankford, Nancy (H) Lynch, Robert Madden, William Mayfield, Paul
McClure, Bruce McLaughlin, Eugene Minnick, Edward Ranson, Richard
Reyes, Richard Ronk, Wesley Rooker, Robert Sexton, Sidney
Shiffer, William Strozier, Bobby Taylor, James Tobin, Michael
Tufts, James Wilson, William    

Return to Ships List

Muster list updated by Terry W. McManuels

Copyright © 2006 PGRA. All rights reserved. Revised: 03/11/14.