El Salvador Table of Contents
In 1988 the Salvadoran Navy, with at least 1,300 members, included the 600-man Marine Infantry Battalion (Batallon de Infanteria de Marina--BIM), a 330-man commando unit, and some conscripts. The principal naval base was located at La Union. A naval school was located at Army Headquarters in San Salvador. In the late 1980s, the navy had acquired thirty patrol craft (see table 9, Appendix).
Revived in 1952, after a lapse of more than forty years without any naval vessels, the new navy assumed the functions of the established coast guard and expanded them to include coastal patrol and fishery protection. The navy also absorbed patrol craft from the coast guard; these craft, principally British vessels, were decommissioned by 1981 and replaced by United States-built boats.
The Naval Commandos force was established in August 1982 as a sixty-man unit intended to improve response to guerrilla operations in coastal areas. By mid-1985 the force numbered 330 men, among them 12 frogmen, 90 base security troops, and 110 men who regularly handled the weapons aboard their high-speed patrol boats. The Naval Commandos prowled mangroves, coconut forests, and beaches in eight- to fifteen-man teams, ambushing guerrilla columns and raiding rebel encampments.
Data as of November 1988