U.S. Central Command area of operations with Coastal
Riverine Squadron Three. By next year, the CRF will
begin receiving the 85-foot MK VI Patrol Boat, also built
by SAFE Boats.
The CRF boat crews now use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and, from the new CCB, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). The CRF squadrons “complete
a rigorous unit-level training curriculum to include
FAA [Federal Aviation Agency] ground school” for the
Aqua Puma, a hand-launched UAV that lands in the
water and is retrieved for reuse, according to Diehl.
“These operations span from inland littorals to open
water patrols in support of our squadron intelligence/
surveillance/reconnaissance operations or training support [i.e., range clearance for underway live-fire events],
The CCB uses the Mk18 UUV for “various underwater surveillance or reconnaissance activities,” Diehl
said, noting that the CCB is representative of the additional capability that is being added to the CRF this
year, to include extended ISR mission capabilities. The
CRF also assumed the responsibility from the Coast
Guard for high-value unit escort and port protection of
continental U.S. naval bases.
For the CRF, most of the action is overseas with
forward-deployed naval forces and with rotational and
exercise deployments, including engagement with
allies and partners. The CRF maintains forward-deployed naval forces in Bahrain and Guam.
“Our squadrons have deployed to Bahrain; Kuwait;
UAE [United Arab Emirates]; Rota, Spain; and Sigonella,
Italy,” Diehl said. “They’ve conducted TSC [theater secu-
rity cooperation] and SFA [security force assistance] in
various SOUTHCOM [U.S. Southern Command] nations
such as Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and El Salvador.
We’ve also deployed to Panama to conduct [canal] tran-
sits and training exercises with the folks in Panama.”
CRF units often are paired with Navy Expeditionary
Combat Command’s Maritime Civil Affairs and Security
Teams, explosive ordnance disposal units, Seabee units
and Marine Corps Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground
Task Forces (SP MAGTFs) to deliver tailored security
cooperation, security forces and training as requested
by foreign navies.
“Each fall, training teams deliver core instruction to
foreign militaries in support of SFA and foreign internal
defense missions to include small boat operations and
tactics, maritime combat operations weapons procedures
and handling, anti-terrorist force protection and maintenance of their tactical equipment,” Diehl said. “We also
[conduct] officer and noncommissioned officer professional development leadership training. Once we are
deployed, we quickly overcome any language barriers
through translation of the material that we are providing
and [if needed] our maintainers quickly get their gear up
to speed so that we can operate with them and train.”
Two years ago, the CRF embarked a riverine unit on
the dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry as part of the
African Partnership Station, engaging with nations in
West Africa. In 2013, CRF units joined with the
Sigonella-based SP MAGTF for engagements inland
throughout Africa. The CRF maintains a presence in
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / MARCH 2014
U.S. Navy Riverine Command Boats assigned to Commander, Task Group 56. 7, pass a dhow in the Persian Gulf during
a training exercise Jan. 21. The Coastal Riverine Force increasingly has been used for engagement with foreign navies
and coast guards from Central America and Africa to the Persian Gulf and the Western Pacific.