NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Naval Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) stood up Riverine Group 1 during an establishment ceremony at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek, May 25.
According to Rear Adm. Donald Bullard, NECC's commander, Riverine Group 1 is just one element of the newly created NECC, which integrates all war fighting requirements for expeditionary combat and combat support elements so the Navy is more capable, responsive and effective in the global war on terrorism (GWOT).
"We know there are many areas around the world where rivers are the main lines of communication," said Bullard. "We, the Navy, need to expand in order to go into that brown water environment, to be able to train and work with our combined allies and neighbors and make those lines of communication secure."
Riverine forces are not new to the Navy.
Throughout American history, dating back to the Revolutionary War, riverine forces have been used to fight for American freedom.
The Vietnam War was the last time these forces were called to action, until now. Riverine veterans of the Vietnam War are helping the Sailors of Riverine Group 1 by providing them with valuable information.
"We're trying to help them with lessons we've learned through experience...from how to do an effective search to how to react to an ambush," said former U.S. Navy Engineman Fireman Larry Weatherall, who went on approximately 220 patrols during the Vietnam War.
The 40-year gap between the Vietnam-era and present day riverine forces have not had a negative affect on the Navy's efforts in establishing this new force.
"By biblical standards, 40 years is the passing of a single generation," said Capt. Michael L. Jordan, commander of Riverine Group 1. "Riverine Group 1 is that current generation, and they are ready to carry on the proud legacy of the Vietnam era riverine force."
Many of the Sailors who are presently a part of the unit volunteered themselves to man this new command.
"I volunteered to come here once I saw the orders come out," Electrician's Mate 3rd Class (SW) Thierry Osungs said. "I wanted to come here, because I wanted something different; I wanted to see some action."
Cmdr. William J. Guarini, commander of Riverine Squadron 1, ended the ceremony proceedings with an excited "Hooray Riverines!"
"Standing here today, commanding and establishing Riverine Squadron 1 is the greatest moment in my naval career," said Guarini. "Once trained, we will be the Navy's face in the global war on terrorism."
Riverine Group 1 is preparing to deploy next year and will be made up of three squadrons and approximately 900 Sailors.
For more news from around the fleet, visit www.navy.mil.