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Brown Water, Black Berets

Coastal and Riverine Warfare in Vietnam

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


The men of the U.S. Navy's brown-water force played a vital but often overlooked role in the Vietnam War. Known for their black berets and limitless courage, they maneuvered their aging, makeshift craft along shallow coastal waters and twisting inland waterways to search out the enemy. In this moving tribute to their contributions and sacrifices, Tom Cutler records their dramatic story as only a participant could. His own Vietnam experience enables him to add a striking human dimension to the account. The terror of firefights along the jungle-lined rivers, the rigors of camp life, and the sudden perils of guerrilla warfare are conveyed with authenticity. At the same time, the author's training as a historian allows him to objectively describe the scope of the navy's operations and evaluate their effectiveness.
Winner of the Navy League's Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Literary Achievement in 1988 when the book was first published, Cutler is credited with having written the definitive history of the brown-water sailors, an effort that has helped readers better understand the nature of U.S. involvement in the war.

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 01, 1999 – Cutler reminds us that 1.8 million Navy and Coast Guard troops served in Vietnam (2670 killed in action), with most of the casualties sustained in coastal or riverine operations. Himself a veteran of brownwater action, the author presents a stirring collection of unit histories that starts with the arrival of the first U.S. naval adviser in Saigon in 1964 and ends in 1972 when the last American naval bases were turned over to the South Vietnamese. He chronicles the genesis and operations of Task Forces 115, 116, 117i.e., the Coastal Surveillance Force, the River Patrol Force and the Mobile Riverine Force. Most of the action consisted of small-craft interdiction patrols. Readers will find that, with one or two exceptions, the action reported here is low-keyed in comparison to most infantry-oriented books about the Vietnam war, but Cutler, who teaches at the Naval Academy, is primarily interested in publicizing the overall contribution of these special task forces, which was considerable.
Brown Water, Black Berets
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  • $29.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Military
  • Published: Oct 11, 2012
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press
  • Seller: Perseus Books, LLC
  • Print Length: 448 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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