VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 1 departed Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story May 1 for a six-month deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
In February 2007, RIVRON 1 was the first riverine squadron to be commissioned and deploy since the Vietnam era, when Navy swift boats patrolled inland waterways. Now, RIVRON 1 is the first riverine squadron to deploy for a third time as part of OIF.
"You won't find anyone out here that is not ready to deploy today, and not excited to do their job," said Cmdr. Craig Hill, the commanding officer of RIVRON 1.
RIVRON 1's mission in Iraq is to train Iraqis to provide their own maritime patrol element and to prevent smugglers and violent extremist networks from moving dangerous materials throughout the country's waterways.
"We will be partnering with the Iraqis to get them up to speed to a position where they can do our job," said Hill. "Our job, for the time being, is to focus on providing the government of Iraq with the security and stability they need in order to get up on their feet and get going."
During deployment preparation, riverine Sailors go through rigorous training in protecting and monitoring rivers from attack or insurgent activities. This training allows Sailors to refine techniques and procedures to secure rivers or small bodies of water from illegal transportation of weapons, people or materials.
"These guys are well-trained," said Hill. "I've seen their training, and I've been through the majority of their training with them, I know what they're capable of. They can handle anything a potential foe would hand them."
RIVRON 1 is relieving RIVRON 3, which will be returning home later this month.
"You always look forward to deployment because you get to go do what you train to do," said EN1 (EXW) Stacy Burleson, who has been on each of the deployments with RIVRON 1. "We get to go out and operate, do patrols and sweep - all the things that we have trained this long to do."
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