SWCC: A Proud Tradition that is quite a bit older than you might think! So grab a sear, pop open a cold beverage and let’s explore this tale of NAVSPECWAR called SWCC.

“SWCC: US Navy Parlance for Boats that Go Fast!”


Navy SWCC fastboats

The term brown-water navy originated in the American Civil War. As a blueprint for the “strangulation” of the Confederate States of America, Winfield Scott‘s Anaconda plan called for a two-pronged approach by first blocking the South’s harbors and then pushing along the Mississippi River, effectively cutting the Confederate territory in two while also robbing the South of its main artery of transport. The U.S. Navy was assigned the blockade of the seaports, while a new force of gunboats and river ironclads, together with regular army units, would take, or at least lay siege on, the Confederate forts and cities along the Mississippi. In the early days of the war, these boats were built and crewed by the U.S. Army, with the naval officers commanding them being the only direct connection to the U.S. Navy. By the autumn of 1862, the boats and their mission were transferred to the Department of the Navy. Because of the river’s murky brown water, the ships that participated in these Mississippi campaigns were quickly referred to as the brown-water navy, as opposed to the regular U.S. Navy (which was henceforth referred to as the deep-water or blue-water navy).

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River Rats


Any Place, and Time. From the Mekong Delta of Vietnam to the ancient Euphrates and Tigris rivers of Iraq to the littoral waters of Africa. The history of SWCC goes back to the Vietnam War when the US Navy stood up the “Brown Water Navy” to patrol the rivers, inlets and deltas of tropical Southeast Asia. Brown-water navy is a term that originated in the United States Navy, referring to the small gunboats and patrol boats used in rivers, along with some of the larger ships (including converted WWII LCMs, LSTs, etc.) that supported them as “mother ships,” from which they operated. A broader meaning is any naval force that has the capacity to carry out military operations in river or littoral environments, commonly known as riverine warfare. The term “brown-water” generally describes river environments carrying heavy sediment loads, such as from soil runoff or flooding. Since presence of “brown water” requires a soil source, whether riverine or coastal, the term has become associated with littoral navies.


This Navy SWCC Military Patch created for the US Navy SWCC Teams are part of the Naval Special Warfare (NAVSPECWAR) community and an important part of this special warfare US Naval Force.  In today’s Navy the SWCC Boat Teams are responsible for insertion/extraction of Navy SEAL units in combat zones abroad and in partnership missions with allied nations as represented in the 2012 motion picture film Act of Valor.