"Almighty Almighty, this is PBR Street Gang. Radio check, over!"
PBR Street Gang is the name of the U.S. Navy PBR (Patrol Boat, Riverine) that carried Captain Willard into Cambodia in Apocalypse Now. PBRs were small, heavily-armed boats used by the U.S. Navy in Vietnam to patrol the country's numerous rivers and deltas that were too shallow for larger craft to navigate.
According to his superiors, Captain Willard was placed on a PBR so as not to garner any unnecessary attention while embarking on his secret mission to kill Colonel William Kurtz. This makes sense, but Street Gang and her crew run into everything from snooty supply sergeants to spear-chucking Montagard tribesmen. And that's before they even get into Cambodia...
The name Street Gang aptly describes the patchwork of personalities and backgrounds that make up the boat's slightly crazy, drug-addled crew.
The crew of PBR Street Gang:
Chief--The boat's commander. Like most of the crew, Chief is never referred to by name; however, the last name "Phillips" can be seen on his fatigues. The only crewmember that isn't into drugs, Chief is something of a father figure and moral monitor for the other crewmen.
Mr. Clean--Street Gang's 17-year-old M-60 machine gunner. Mr. Clean comes from a poor black family in the Bronx and obviously had to lie about his age to join the Navy. A few scenes indicate some friction between Mr. Clean and Captain Willard, but the two never get so far as a confrontation. Lawrence Fishburne, who played Mr. Clean, was only 14 when the movie was filmed and lied about his age to get the part.
Chef--Chef, the boat's mechanic and .50-caliber machine gunner, is a saucier (a cook who specializes in sauces) from New Orleans. Chef joined the Navy and initially trained to be a cook, then applied for radio school, but finally ended up as a mechanic. Described by Captain Willard as being "wrapped too tight for Vietnam", Chef has several panicked freakouts that hint at a deeper mental disturbance.
Lance Johnson---A famous surfer from California, Lance mans PBR Street Gang's dual, forward .50-caliber machine guns. Lance is often shown under the influence of various drugs and has little regard for his personal safety as a result. Careful viewers will note that Lance's initials are LBJ; this is one of the few bits of evidence that might be used to date the events in the movie.
After the film's climax, PBR Street Gang and the remnants of her crew putter off into the Cambodian night, but whether they sail upstream or downstream is unclear...
"Almighty Almighty calling PBR Street Gang...calling PBR Street Gang..."