Brown Water Warriors by John M. Carrico

Book Review: Brown Water Warriors – River Patrol Boats in Vietnam

18 May 2010

U.S. Army and Air Force involvement in Vietnam came to be symbolized by the Huey helicopter and B-52 bomber. However, for the U.S. Navy operating the Mekong Delta, that symbol was the PBR.

Fiberglass hulled PBRs (Patrol Boat, River) patrolled the waterways of the Mekong as part of Operation Game Warden, which aimed to deliver the surveillance and interdiction of Viet Cong activity.

Though only approximately thirty feet long, the boats projected US / ARVN power into the most shallow of rivers thanks to their unique propulsion system. The use of Jacuzzi jets, rather than traditional propellers, allowed the penetration of all but the smallest waterways.

Like the other titles in his Riverine series, John Carrico has produced a thirty-minute film and slide show about these Brown Water Warriors from footage shot during the war in Vietnam. Again, following the pattern of his previous films, there is no narration. However, a short introduction has been over-laid for the viewer as if it were being typed by an old fashioned typewriter.

The DVD itself is a compilation of National Archive footage that has been carefully edited and digitally re-mastered to form a single film set to different types of music. Divided into sections, the viewer glimpses the preparation of the boats prior to leaving for a mission. Next comes the actual patrolling of the truly vast rivers of the Mekong Delta, whilst in the third section the boats unload their ferocious and terrifying firepower on the riverbanks. However, just as many American soldiers never saw the Viet Cong, unfortunately neither does the viewer!

As an additional feature of the DVD there is a colour slide show of fifty-eight photographs that include a few illustrations of the Game Warden zones and an overview of the Mekong Delta.

Brown Water Warriors is another fitting addition to Carrico's library of Vietnam Riverine books and DVDs and can be purchased directly from LuLu for $14.95.

Visit Brown Water Enterprises for further information.
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