Running and gunning over blue waters with the Riverines
By HENDRICK SIMOES | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 11, 2013
Just a few hours of riding in the Persian Gulf on one of these twin-diesel 2,000 horsepower Navy Riverine Command Boats can leave the uninitiated not just sea sick, but actually sore for days as the 49-foot “multi-mission platforms” wrestle with the sea swells of open water.
Open water, often referred to by sailors as “blue-water,” is an unconventional environment to operate a “riverine” boat optimized to operate in rivers, deltas and shallow coastal waters.
It’s partly for this reason that the Riverine Command Boats are a lesser known component of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which operates in the Persian Gulf. They mostly sail in the shadows of the larger deck Navy warships that frequent the area and gobble up most of the attention.
These extremely fast, armed craft crewed by approximately eight sailors can perform a wide range of missions and have the capacity to carry special forces or small U.S. Marine units into coastal waters where larger warships simply cannot venture — making them a highly versatile asset.
The crew of a Command Riverine Boat from Coastal Riverine Squadron Four, make their way to a safe location in the Persian Gulf for a weapons exercise Oct. 20, 2013.
Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes