This article by David Roza originally appeared on Task & Purpose, a digital news and culture publication dedicated to military and veterans issues.
From nuclear-powered submarines to air-cushioned hovercraft, the Navy has a lot of strange boats and ships of all shapes and sizes. But one boat is notable not for its tonnage nor its speed, but for how insanely friggin’ cute it is.
That’s right, the vessel known as the Boomin Beaver doesn’t launch helicopters off its deck, but it is still packed full of shock and ‘awww.’
What is this adorable vessel, and why is it so small? Not to fear dear reader: you can’t spell Task & Purpose without “ask,” and boy did we ask the Navy.
As it turns out, the service’s 19-foot mini tugboats play an important role in protecting their larger siblings. They deploy, operate, and maintain underwater barriers surrounding ships such as