PTF-17 is a Nasty-Class (Tjeld) Patrol Boat, a Norweigan design built under license by John Trumpy and Sons at Annapolis, Maryland. Designated as a Patrol Craft Fast, or PTF, she is larger and more heavily armed than the PT Boats of WWII, and was designed with guns as her primary armament, rather than torpedoes. Laid down in early 1968 and commissioned into Navy service later that year, PTF-17 and her crew were deployed to Vietnam along with their five sisterships.
Beginning river patrols in the Mekong Delta and along the coastline around DaNang, PTF-17 and her fellow PTF's operated against NVA and Viet-Cong insurgent groups for the next three years, often being involved in surprise attacks and pitched firefights. Withdrawn from Vietnam in 1972 as combat operations were turned over to the South Vietnamese, PTF-17 was eventually relocated to Chicago, IL where she began service with Coastal River Division 21 in August 1972.
Operating out of Naval Station Great Lakes for the next four years, PTF-17, her sisterships PTF-18 & PTF-19 trained US Navy recruits on small boat operations, tactics and weaponry in Lake Michigan. Changing Naval doctrine in the 1970's led to less interest in brown water and littoral capabilities in favor of blue-water operations, and in 1976 the Navy ordered Coastal River Division 21 deactivated.
PTF-17 stood out of Chicago for Little Creek, VA where she briefly operated before she decommissioned in 1979. Given her history on the Great Lakes, PTF-17 was offered to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park for preservation and is presently on display. As of 2011, she is under extensive topside and hull restoration by park volunteers.