Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 1 held an end-of-mission ceremony in the southern Iraqi province of Basrah, Oct. 30.
The event marked the conclusion of operations that included more than 250 security missions and training of more than 300 Iraqis to continue providing maritime security on the rivers and lakes of Iraq.
RIVRON 1's contingent of more than 200 Sailors stationed in Basrah trained Iraqi security forces in riverine operations, insertion and extraction missions, and river patrols and interdiction. The ceremony commemorated the successful training and marked a transition of riverine security to the Iraqi security forces.
"I'm excited for what the riverines have accomplished here and what we've done for the Iraqis, which is giving them the tools to do this job and carry on," said Cmdr. Craig Hill, RIVRON 1 commanding officer.
Hill pointed out the vitality of the waterways in Basrah, emphasizing the geographical advantage Iraqi security forces have in conducting maritime security missions.
"The rivers can be used for transporting legitimate products and communication," Hill said. "What [RIVRON 1] has done is provide the Iraqi security forces the training to ensure the waterways are used for the right reasons."
Due to the strategic use of waterways by insurgents in Iraq in 2005, then Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Mullen called to close the seams that existed between the Navy and conventional ground forces by extending the United States' maritime reach into the region's "brown water" river and canal littoral waterways.
Although RIVRON 1 has completed its mission in Iraq, its greater mission of maintaining deployable readiness continues. Upon arrival at their homeport aboard Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek - Ft. Story in Virginia Beach, Va., RIVRON 1 will resume training to conduct maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in riverine areas, throughout the world.
Assigned to Riverine Group 1 under the command of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, RIVRON 1 serves as a direct action unit, designated to serve as a maneuver element to conduct combat operations and augment land forces.
This deployment marked the third for RIVRON 1 since the command's establishment in May 2006. Each of the three riverine squadrons has served multiple deployments in Iraq, maintaining a continual presence in the region.
RIVRON 1 is one of 10 task groups comprising Combined Task Force (CTF) 56. CTF 56 is responsible for all Navy expeditionary combat warfare operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, which encompasses 2.5 million square miles and 27 countries.
Article by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Elisandro Diaz, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet Public Affairs