New Commodore to Continue Riverine Heritage of Filling the Maritime Gap

Story Number: NNS080430-03Release Date: 4/30/2008 10:32:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Jen Smith, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- One of the Navy leaders instrumental in the development of the Navy's 21st Century riverine force turned over his command of Riverine Group (RIVGRU) 1 in a ceremony at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., April 28.

As the RIVGRU 1's first commander, Capt. Michael Jordan led the development of the riverine force since its inception in 2006 which included the establishment of a group staff and three operational squadrons. Two squadrons have successfully deployed to western Iraq, with the third squadron on its way to Iraq. He also established a comprehensive training program that successfully prepared Sailors for combat operations in Iraq, and implemented new and improved technologies into the riverine force, such as a new riverine command boat and micro-unmanned aerial vehicles.

Jordan's relief, Capt. Anthony Krueger, comes to RIVGRU 1 from the Military Sealift Fleet Support Command where he served as the director of operations. Krueger says he had to depend on the guidance of Jordan and his staff to transform him from a blue water Sailor to a brown water Sailor. He noted he is honored to lead the Navy's new riverine force.

During the change of command ceremony, Rear Adm. Mike Tillotson, commander of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), spoke of the importance of the Riverine mission to the Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower.

"The Maritime Strategy focuses on not only winning major wars, but also establishing and building partnerships to prevent war," he said. "Riverine also plays a role in that. When you look at riverine, it is a force that is a lot like other navies of the world. It is a force that is focused on coastal waters and territories."

Expeditionary Sailors -- including Riverine forces -- increase security and stability in an expanded maritime battlespace and fills the gap between the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander and the Joint Force Land Component Commander. They provide a continuum of security through the near-coast, inner harbors and ports and riverine maritime environments, ensuring sea lines of communications remain open to the last tactical mile.

The Navy's riverine heritage reaches back to the Revolutionary War, when American Sailors used small boats against Royal Navy warships operating on colonial waterways. Riverine warfare also was prevalent during the War of 1812 and the Civil War. However, riverine warfare's most notable chapter in history was during the Vietnam War, when the Navy's River Patrol Force and Army-Navy Mobile Riverine Force operated along the Mekong Delta and other rivers and canals in South Vietnam.

Most recently, Riverine Squadrons (RIVRONs) have been heavily involved in conducting missions in Iraq. While RIVRON 1 was deployed last year, the Sailors were working side-by-side with the U.S. Marine Corps and Army as well as Iraqi soldiers.

At the forefront of all Riverine missions, as well as any other Navy mission, is the expeditionary Sailor. Jordan says he is extremely proud of the Sailors he led during his time at RIVGRU1.

"It's the most special thing I've ever done from the standpoint of working with young Sailors who are motivated," said Jordan. "They've worked hard with a lot of long hours. They spend a lot of time away from home doing a lot of training."

Tillotson said he was aware of the hard work and dedication Jordan, his staff and fellow Riverine Sailors put into recreating the Riverines.

"Mike and his team started from scratch," Tillotson said. "They have made incredible progress and have set a very high bar for the future of Riverine forces. They also incorporated new tactics, using unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance and human intelligence specialists to achieve mission success."

Jordan's next assignment will be a dual role as Commander, Task Force 56 and Commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Forces in Bahrain.

Coming from the Military Sealift Fleet Support Command where he served as the director of operations, Krueger explained he had to depend on the guidance of Jordan and his staff to transform him from a blue water Sailor to a brown water Sailor.

"It is truly an honor to be your commodore," said Krueger. "I look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with you attacking many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us."

Riverine forces make up two percent of the NECC's total force of approximately 40,000 Sailors, including individual augmentees. As one of the Navy's type commanders, NECC centrally manages the current and future readiness, resources, manning, training and equipping of expeditionary Sailors who are currently serving in every theater of operation. These capabilities include naval construction, dive and salvage, and explosive ordnance disposal, which have been a part of the Navy for several decades. Not only did NECC bring some existing forces together, they also introduced and restructured new capabilities, such as maritime civil affairs, expeditionary intelligence and expeditionary training.

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