The “Brown Water Navy” or Coastal Riverine Force was established during the Vietnam War and the primary mission is to conduct maritime security operations by securing and defending the Navy's high-value assets, critical maritime-infrastructure, ports and harbors both inland and on coastal waterways.
In 2012, the Navy merged Riverine Forces and Maritime Expeditionary Security Forces to form the Coastal Riverine Force. Under the parent command, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), there are 22,000 Sailors assigned to NECC and half of which are Reservists who play an integral and mission critical part.
There are currently seven squadrons within the United States with detachments abroad.
Coastal Riverine Group ONE is comprised of Squadrons 1, 3, and 11 and are home ported on the West Coast. Squadron One is located in Imperial Beach (San Diego), Squadron 3 is in North Island (Coronado), and Squadron 11 is located in Seal Beach CA (San Diego) with detachments in Guam.
Coastal Riverine Group TWO is comprised of four squadrons. Squadrons 2, 4, 8, and 10 are home ported on the East Coast. Squadrons Two and Four are located in Little Creek VA. Squadron Eight is located in Newport RI, and Squadron 10 is located in Jacksonville, FL with detachments in Bahrain.
The overall force currently consists of both active and reserve service members who operate more than 100 boats, weapons, and surface warfare gear.
The Brown Water Navy Training 21st Century
Back in 2006, the need for a Coastal Riverine Force throughout the world where our Navy is present increased significantly. Not only here at home but abroad in war zones.
The Navy’s first Coastal Riverine Group Squadron (RIVRON) of the 21st century completed Common Combat Skills training, the first phase of pre-deployment training at the School of Infantry (SOI) at Marine Base Camp Lejeune in 2006.
Nicknamed "Devil Squids" by the instructors of SOI’s Instruction Training Battalion, RIVRON 1 received training in basic infantry skills, which they’ll continue to build upon until qualified to deploy.
Riverines are being re-established by the CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) to extend the Navy’s reach back into the brown water internal waterways and rivers around the world. Many of the regions of instability are on rivers and waterways – in terms of boundaries and symmetric threats – that aren’t as easily viable as at sea with the ‘blue-water fleet.
The FTX (field training exercise) training received will provide the foundation to continue developing individual and collective skills or competencies throughout their pre-deployment training cycle. They’ll build on those skills and when they move onto the more collective tasks and train as boat teams and detachments, every single Sailor is on one common ground.
RIVRON 1 is comprised of Navy personnel of different ratings. Although this re-established "brown-water Navy" has a completely different mission than its "blue-water" predecessors, their job skill sets are valued on both platforms.
Boatswain’s mates are combat coxswain of the small craft, OSs (operations specialists) will run our operations center, Seabee Sailors will take charge of the combat gear. It started out as a variety of rates, and they are all true to their rates – core rates doing the core missions, but applied in a different way.
As a new command, these individual Navy ratings have built the foundation to become the new Enlisted Expeditionary Warfare Specialist. Now, the Enlisted Expeditionary Warfare Specialist Insignia is earned when assigned to the Coastal Riverine Force subordinate commands.
RIVRON 1 Sailors continue combat training in July on machine guns, while officers and chief petty officers take leadership and tactical skills courses. Upon completion of the month-long training, the squadron enters the second phase of their training at Special Missions Training Center Camp Lejeune and are taught skills to operate small boats.
The final phase of training involves the headquarters element. With the three separate detachments, everyone goes through a FEP (final evaluation problem) exercise to certify the command for deployment.
The Riverine Squadrons deploy as an element to the Middle East and have made Naval History again as bringing back the Brown Water Navy Sailors into the 21st century. The commands are excited to have made history, become plank owners and now have over a decade of forward deployed experience in dangerous zone around the world.
The types of missions assumed by these Riverine Units are the following:
The Coastal Riverine Force is trained and equipped to conduct, port and harbor security, high-value unit security and escort, surveillance and reconnaissance, insertion and extraction of small units, and command and control for supporting assigned units. Coastal Riverine Force members are capable of conducting 24-hour operations in all weather conditions and climates.