A Small Unit Riverine Craft (SURC), from the Navy’s Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 1, conducts an orientation ride in Lake Qadisiya, the man-made reservoir on the North side of Haditha Dam. RIVRON 1, based out of Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek, is currently supporting the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) in the Al Anbar province of Iraq. The deployment marks the first for a Navy riverine squadron since the Vietnam War. U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jon E. McMillan
By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Dave Nagle, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs
The Navy’s riverine force marked its one-year anniversary May 25.
Riverine Group (RIVGRU) 1 and Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 1 were both formally established May 25, 2006, under Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC). The establishment brought together Sailors from diverse backgrounds to begin a transformation from blue water to brown water Sailors.
That transformation also took the riverine force from a concept a year ago, to a mission-capable combat force that is currently contributing to the global war on terrorism.
“The riverine force has gone from a small group of Sailors in Little Creek a year ago to three active squadrons, one conducting operations in Iraq,” said Capt. Michael Jordan, RIVGRU 1 commander.
Following several months of training in combat skills, small-unit riverine craft operations and cultural and language skills, RIVRON 1 Advance Party deployed Feb. 13 to Iraq and RIVRON 1 Main Body deployed March 8 to Iraq, where they are conducting integrated maritime combat operations with Marines, Soldiers, Coalition Forces, Iraqi Army, and Iraqi Police.
“We exemplify the modern success of the Navy-Marine Corps team, and we have increased the Navy's relevance in Iraq and in the war on terror,” said Cmdr. William Guarini, RIVRON 1 commanding officer.
RIVRON 2, established Feb. 2, is presently conducting unit-level training at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Riverine Squadron 3, based at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown will stand up formally in early July.
Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class (SW) Tarah Gilmore, a 10-year Navy veteran, joined RIVRON 3 for the opportunity to lead young Sailors in a challenging environment and be at the tip of the spear in the Navy's newest mission.
"It's an honor and a privilege to be a part of the riverine community to carry on the tradition of ‘fighting Sailors,’" Gilmore said.
The Navy’s riverine heritage reaches back to the Revolutionary War, when American Sailors used small boats against Royal Navy warships operating on colonial waterways. Riverine warfare also was prevalent during the War of 1812 and the Civil War. However, riverine warfare’s most notable chapter in history was during the Vietnam War, when the Navy’s River Patrol Force and Army-Navy Mobile Riverine Force operated along the Mekong Delta and other rivers and canals in South Vietnam.
“I am proud of each one of our Sailors in the riverine force who are carrying the legacy of our nation’s brown water heritage,” said Jordan.
The Navy’s riverine force is part of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, a global force provider of adaptive force packages of expeditionary capabilities to joint warfighting commanders. NECC serves as a single functional command to centrally manage the current and future readiness, resources, manning, training, and equipping of the Navy Expeditionary Force.