Book Review

Green Boats and Grunts: The Mobile Riverine Force in Vietnam, a film by John Carrico

Green Boats and Grunts

21 April 2008

One of the most interesting aspects of the U.S. Navy’s involvement in the Vietnam War was their use of armored river craft to transport combat troops along the waterways of the Mekong Delta. The Navy’s River Assault Flotilla 1 joined with the 2d Brigade of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division to form the Mobile Riverine Force, which battled against the Viet Cong from 1967 to 1970.

Green Boats and Grunts is a 30-minute DVD that uses digitally re-mastered footage originally shot by soldiers of the 221st Signal Company from the decks of their armoured patrol craft. Though there is no narration, producer Jack Carrico has added his own choice of fitting music to accompany the film.

Rather than being of general interest, this DVD is ideal for those with a specific regard for the Brown Water Navy and its various boats. The film shows all the main battle craft including the Armored Troop Carriers (ATC), the Monitor gunboats and the Assault Support Patrol Boats (ASPB) that transported the Army soldiers to their operations. Aside from the sight of the boats in action, one thing that hits you is the sheer width of the rivers in the Delta.

It’s a pity that there’s not more footage of the 9th Infantry soldiers going into combat or of the devastating firepower of the flotilla, although the flamethrower sequence is rather impressive in a scary sort of way.

Green Boats and Grunts is an ideal accompaniment to Carrico’s book, Vietnam Ironclads, and it would have been a nice touch to include the DVD with the hardback edition. The film can be purchased from and is reasonably priced at $14.95.

Keep your eye out later this year for Carrico’s follow-up book, which will recount many war stories of the sailors who served in the MRF. Visit Brown Water Enterprises for further information.
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