While the U.S. Navy has issued
many press releases about its three new Riverine Squadrons, the marines and
army have also obtained boats for units that have rivers in their AO (Area of
Operation). The navy Riverine Group One has three squadrons (each with 230
sailors and twelve 39 foot boats). With headquarters and support troops, the
group has 900 personnel and 36 armed boats. Each boat has a crew of sixteen and is armed with machine-guns and
automatic grenade launchers. For nearly two years, at least one squadron has
been in Iraq.
But the army
has been doing riverine operations since the American Revolution. While the
navy often got involved with this, the army would always scrounge up boats when
the navy wasn't around. This was often the case when the waterways were far inland. But anything near the ocean would attract navy assistance. Based on its Vietnam experience, the army
issued a manual on riverine operations in 1971 (FM 31-75).