USA: Riverine Squadron Conducts Live-Fire Training


Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 3 Sailors conducted category IV live-fire training on the Salt River aboard Fort Knox, Ky., June 6-11.

Category IV live-fire consists of taking riverine boat crews through one to four-boat formations, reacting to land and waterborne events, contacts and various possible angles of pursuit, and patrolling river ways. Four-boat formation is a tactic used by riverines to defend against enemy attacks both on the river ways and on land when they are extracting hostiles or inserting a riverine security team ashore.

“We are progressing each day and taking it step-by-step,” said Lt. Mark Howell, RIVRON 3 Det. 2 officer in charge. “This training allows us to venture out to new territories and operate effectively on any river. This is basic riverine unit level training, more or less, the fundamentals of our craft and the way we operate on any river.”

The RIVRON boat teams practiced various exercise scenarios they could encounter in live combat. Some of the events included defending against enemy assaults, towing inoperative boats and firing various different weapons at posted targets simulating enemy contacts on the hill sides. After each evolution the boat crews debriefed and discussed discrepancies and strategy during the training.

During the live-fire evolutions one of the riverine boats would power down to simulate a loss of power during an attack. The boat closest would use a line to tie-up and drag the downed boat out of danger while the other two boats provided cover fire.

Riverine boat crews are composed of gunners training on their specific area of responsibility and sector of fire, the coxswain who trains on navigating the boat and positioning the boats in formations away from the danger areas, and the boat captain who assesses every aspect of his boat from the functions and capabilities down to the Sailors and their responsibilities.

The Sailors manned the boats donned in full-body armor. Each gunner had a range safety officer standing behind them to provide guidance and advice, and to ensure the safety of the Sailors on the boat. Every scenario and drill helps to proficiently hone the skills of riverine Sailors, ensuring they are qualified and capable of deploying with their detachment.

“Those three positions are what we are training on here and how they not only work as one boat, but also as a four-boat formation,” said Howell. “There will never be an untrained Riverine Sailor deployed. We have a standard to stick to and wickets to meet, and we will not send anybody out that doesn’t have the tools and skills to combat the threat at hand.”

Howell said after this training, Det. 2 can deploy and handle the worst case scenario, which would be an assault by a squad-size (platoon) enemy infantry threat or light vehicles with heavy armor.

“This exercise is the culmination of what riverines train for so they have the ability to go out on any river and have the tools to succeed,” he said.

Howell stated, RIVRON 3 Det. 2 is in a deployment window and will be ready to answer the call when needed.

“The Riverine force is an extremely flexible fighting force providing operations across the entire spectrum of military operations,” said Cmdr. Peter Berning, chief staff officer Riverine Group 1. “We also provide the unique ability to bring the Navy’s core mission of maritime security operations into the riverine environment. No other unit has the ability to operate in that unique and strategically important geographic area.”

The Riverine Force, part of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, is a combat-arms force that performs point defense, fire support and interdiction operations along coastal and inland water ways to defeat enemies and support U.S. Marines and coalition forces.
Source: navy, June 20, 2011;