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NavSource Online:
Motor Gunboat/Patrol Gunboat Photo Archive

Left patch courtesy of the Patrol Gunboat Association and right patch courtesy of Mike Smolinski

Surprise (PG 97)

Surprise served the Navies of the United States and Turkey.

Bora call sign:
Tango - Bravo - November - Lima

Asheville Class Motor Gunboat:

  • Laid down 24 May 1968 by Peterson Builders Inc., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
  • Launched, 7 December 1968
  • Commissioned USS Surprise (PG-97), 17 October 1969 at Boston, MA
  • Decommissioned 28 February 1973 at Izmir, Turkey; transferred to the Turkish Navy and renamed TCG Bora (P 339)
  • Struck from the Naval Register 8 August 1987
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 250 t.
  • Length 165'
  • Beam 24'
  • Speed 40 kts.
  • Armament: One 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount, one 40mm gun mount and two twin .50 cal. machine guns
  • Propulsion geared diesel engines and gas turbine, two shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Surprise (PG 97)
    Surprise 80k Original photo: On trials, 1969
    U.S. Navy photo from the Dictionary of American Fighting Ships
    Replacement photo: 14 October 1969
    Boston, MA
    "The USS Surprise (PG 97), will be commissioned during ceremonies at the Boaston Naval Shipyard 10/17 in Charlestown section of Boston. The 250-ton gunboat is 165 feet long, powered by two variable-pitched propellers for cruising speeds or a gas turbine engine for high speeds. UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL TELEPHOTO FROM U.S. NAVY"
    Original photo: Robert Hurst
    Replacement photo: Richard Miller, BMCS, USNR, Ret.
    USS Surprise (PG 97)
    Surprise 139k . Patrol Gunboat Association
    Terry W. McManuels, ETCM(SW), Ret.
    Surprise 119k c. 1969 David Buell
    Surprise 73k c. June 1971
    Photo taken from RFA Tidespring [A 75] by George Mortimor
    Original photo: Robert Hurst
    Replacement photo: Richard Miller, BMCS, USNR, Ret.
    Surprise 118k 23 August 1971
    The Mediterranean Sea ( SE part of Ionian Sea)
    A portside view of Surprise as she crosses the course of the Soviet missile destroyer Provorny
    Eugene Ivkin
    TCG Bora (P 339)
    Surprise 89k . CŁneyt Demir
    Surprise 371k
    Surprise 615k
    Surprise 37k
    Surprise 100k . Y. M. Umar, GMC, Turkish Navy, Ret.

    Commanding Officers
    01LT Wiliam Thurston Shiffer, Jr., USN17 October 1969 - 27 February 1971
    02LT Richard Leland Sellers, USN27 February 1971 - 2 June 1971
    03LT Wiliam Thurston Shiffer, Jr., USN2 June 1971 - 3 August 1971
    04LT Robert Burgess Lynch, USN3 August 1971 - 15 December 1972
    05LT William Peter Van Vooren, USN15 December 1972 - 28 February 1973
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    View the Surprise (PG 97)
    DANFS history entry located on the Naval Historical Center website
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Patrol Gunboat Association
    Back To The Main Photo Index Back To the Patrol Craft/Gunboat/Submarine Chaser Index Back to the Motor Gunboat (PGM) Photo Index

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