Raul Herrera

- Swift Boat Vet - Author -

About the Author

Raul Herrera is a decorated Vietnam War Veteran who volunteered for the Navy in September 1965 and received an honorable discharge after four years of service.  His tour of duty in Vietnam was from April 1967 to April 1968.  He served aboard a 50-foot aluminum-hulled combat vessel, PCF-79 (Patrol Craft Fast), commonly known as a Swift Boat.  Mr. Herrera and his boat crew, along with other American, South Vietnamese and Korean soldiers, were personally congratulated and decorated with the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry Medal by Premier Nguyen Cao Ky and Chief of State Nguyen Van Thieu for their effort in the capture of an ammo-laden North Vietnamese resupply fishing trawler.

The author was selected as one of the top ten national finalists in the Books For Life Foundation, 2003 John T. Lupton “New Voices In Literature Awards” (Non-fiction Category).  He contributed to the historical research for Medal of Honor – A Vietnam Warrior’s Story and is so noted in the acknowledgments. Mr. Herrera served as president of the Swift Boat Sailors Association from 2007 to 2013.  As a freelance writer, he has published articles in the Nuestras Vidas Magazine and has also been published in VIVA! Magazine, a supplement to the Houston Post.  A feature interview article about the author and relative to the capture of the North Vietnamese trawler appeared in the February 1996 issue of VIETNAM Magazine.   In addition, two (CBS Affiliate) KHOU-TV interviews, relative to his work-in-progress, have aired in the past.

Mr. Herrera worked for twenty-one years with Dannenbaum Engineering Corporation, Houston, Texas, as a civil engineering CADD-Design Technician and retired in 2010.  He was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas.  He is married and currently calls Richmond, Texas, home.


Over the years, a number of published authors, members of the literary community and authoritative military figures have reviewed the work to date and have all expressed positive views.

RADM Benjamin Montoya (USN-R) reviewed the work in progress and supports the effort as “a memorialization of important Navy events.”

Vice Admiral M. Staser Holcomb added, “The role the Navy and its people played in that under appreciated conflict deserves telling. I hope your book will add to the record a positive statement along those lines.”

Herbert Molloy Mason, Jr., author of Lafayette Escadrille: Men at War and six others wrote, “I greatly enjoyed reading your chapter on SKUNK ALPHA, and can say without hesitation that you have the makings of a publishable book.”

Mr. J. John Newman wrote, “As a former newspaper executive and Air Force press officer (the) work, in my opinion, deserves serious consideration. … (Your) account of this, as we used to say in the newspaper business, would be ‘a good read.’ More than that, in my view, it would sell.”

William L Schachte,Jr. (Rear Admiral, JAGC, USN  Ret.) wrote, ” The story of Skunk Alpha is quite significant in that it tells of the courage, enthusiasm and professionalism of those fortunate enough to be known as SWIFT Boat sailors, and the very significant role they played in successful operations by the Navy’s Brown Water forces during the Vietnam war. Those of us who returned home after serving our year in combat were often met with verbal scorn and disrespect, in spite of our ‘unsung’ combat successes. And it is appropriate that those among us who made the ultimate sacrifice likewise should be recognized for their honorable and noble combat service.”

Captain Arthur Peter Ismay (USN, Ret.) wrote, “Personally, I have known and observed many of the Swift crews who began operations in Vietnam during 1965 and 1966.  They brought great credit to the U. S. Navy by conducting round the clock  surveillance and interdiction operations effectively, skillfully and bravely in weather both fair and foul.  I am honored to have been associated with them.  I deeply respect their abilities to prevent, control, and deny the enemy’s use of coastal sea lanes.  I also salute and honor Swift crews who served and bravely engaged the enemy from 1967 to the end of hostilities.”

Rear Admiral Norman T. Saunders, USCG (Ret.) wrote, “In 1965, the Navy deployed a joint force of Navy and Coast Guard vessels to patrol the coast of South Viet Nam and interrupt the seaborne flow of weapons and ammunition from the north to the Viet Cong.  The young men, and we were just young men, of that Market Time force performed admirably though they didn’t make the evening news.  Raul Herrera, in his book Skunk Alpha, captures one of many notable actions by these young sailors.  He tells the story in a compelling way through the eyes of the sailors on scene.  With this exciting book he has captured an important part of the history of the war in Viet Nam in a way that is both good reading and representative of the significant contributions of these brave sailors.”


Swift Boat Sailors Association – Served in leadership since 1995 and as president of the association from 2007 – 2013.

VFW Post 9182, Katy, Texas –  Continuous member since 2008.

Houston Writers Guild – Active Critique Group Member.


CBS Affiliate KHOU-TV, Houston, Texas  – Two FIRST SUNDAY SHOW Interviews.


Radio Station Interviews – A spinoff to the KHOU-TV First Sunday Show interviews, the Author was invited to five Sunday talk show interviews with the following Houston radio stations: KQUE, KNUZ, KLDE, KZFX and KQQK.


VIETNAM Magazine – Article, “Patrol Boat Action in Market Time,” As Told by Author

Nuestras Vidas Magazine – As a freelance writer, Author wrote human interest stories of Hispanics from the Houston community, including a feature story on activist José Angel Gutiérrez, recalling the racial injustice of the late 1960’s in South Texas.


(Former) Houston Post, VIVA Magazine – “Memories of War,” Interview Article.

Stars and Stripes Newspaper, July 17, 1967 – “Ammo-Laden Enemy Trawler KOd,” by Dave Preston – News story of the capture of Skunk Alpha.

Stars and Stripes Newspaper, August 6, 1967 – “Ky, Thieu View Captured Arms Ship,” by Henry Hansen – Centerfold news story and photos of Skunk Alpha.


They Answered The Call – Latinos in the Vietnam War, by Gil Dominguéz – Anthology of eighteen Hispanics who fought in the Vietnam War, Author’s story is included.

Medal of Honor –  A Vietnam Warrior’s Story, by M. Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez, USA SF (Ret.) with John R. Craig  – Author acknowledged for his contribution to the military research of the book.


Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument – Author Interview Video.

Swift Boats – Brave Sailors and The Last Patrol, Video by Brown Water Productions – Author provided photos, film and audio relative to the capture of an enemy trawler on July 15, 1967.  Author is acknowledged for his contribution on video jacket.

Swift Boat Links

Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument  –  The monument was built by veterans to honor those Navy and Coast Guard sailors who died in Vietnam, in the air, at sea, on inland waters, ashore and in POW camps during the Vietnam War.

PCF-45, Patrol Craft Fast Web Site, by boat officer Robert B. Shirley  – Web site dedicated to all the officer and sailors that served on Swift Boats in the Vietnam War.

Coastal Squadron One – Swift Boat Crew Directory  – Swift Boat Sailor Veteran Larry Wasikowski created the site.  It contains the history of each Swift Boat and the names of the officers and sailors that served on them during the Vietnam War.