SCUBAPRO Sunday – US Riverine Forces

The U.S. Navy Riverine Force go back to the beginning of the U.S. Navy. The hay day for Riverine force was during the Vietnam War. The Brown Water Navy had the highest volunteer and retention rate of any unit in the U.S. military. They are also one of the highest decorated units during that time frame. The Riverine Force concept in Vietnam was based on tactics first used in the Revolutionary and Civil War. But they were quickly adapted for the Mekong delta.

During the Indochina War, the French Navy successfully utilized riverine assault craft against Viet Minh forces between 1946 and 1954. In 1955 with the departure of the French, the U.S. Navy sent in a hand full of advisers to help the South patrol the inland waterway. When the U.S. Mobile Riverine Force arrived in 1967, many of the older French craft were still being used by the South Vietnamese Naval Forces. By 1965 the Brown Water Navy was patrolling the over 26,000 square miles of the Mekong delta. The Navy was not the only service working on the waters of Vietnam, the Army, Coast Guard, Air Force, and USMC all worked together.  Below is a link to help you better understand the scope of the River force in Vietnam, and you can also read the book “Brown Water, Black Beret.” It’s a great book to read during quarantine.

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