Wednesday, October 24, 2007

RIVRON 1 Sailors Return Home

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman John Suits, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Approximately 150 Sailors from Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 1 returned to Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek (NABLC), Oct. 22, following a seven-month deployment to Iraq.

RIVRON 1 deployed there earlier this year to conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO). The squadron's primary mission was to deny the use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or as a haven for insurgent activities or illegal transportation of weapons, people or material.

This also marks RIVRON 1’s first deployment since Vietnam.

RIVRON 1, led by Commanding Officer Cmdr. William Guarini, worked with Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) to conduct MSO in Iraq.

“Our squadron’s mission was successful because we made a huge impact on the war in Iraq,” said Guarini. “We were very effective in our mission. We operated with the Marines, Army and Iraqis. As we come off this deployment, I believe the Navy Riverines have a bright future ahead of them. Riverines have a unique capability to operate with foreign navies who don’t have large ships, but have a large navy based off patrol boats.”

Sailors shared their experiences while mobilized in a combat environment.

“I’m glad to get back from this deployment,” said Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class(SW/AW/EXW) Erik Kenchin. “I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it. Once we got out there, we knew what we had to do. We worked with the Marines, Army and Special Forces and everybody worked well together, in my opinion. Every mission we set out for, we achieved.”

Information Systems Technician 3rd Class (EXW) Lamar Gordon expressed his thoughts on what he felt he learned while deployed.

“I gained a lot of in-rate knowledge and the fact that we performed a lot in combat situations,” said Gordon. “We had a lot of training on how to talk to the citizens and react with them in certain ways.”

RIVRON 1 is part of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), a global force provider of adaptive force packages of expeditionary capabilities to joint war-fighting commanders.