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Brown Water, Black Berets: Coastal and Riverine Warfare in Vietnam (Bluejacket Books) Paperback – April 15, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Bluejacket Books
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (April 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557501963
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557501967
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #458,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This is a well-written journalistic account of some of those men in small boats who fought and died on the canals and rivers in Vietnam. Cutler writes from personal experience and interviews, paying particular attention to the human side of the war. There is little of the broad context within which these events took place, nor much criticism. The information is reliable, and some of the stories are gripping in their action. From books like this, the definitive history will be written. Illustrations not seen. For libraries with special interests in the Navy and Vietnam. Edward Gibson, Alderson Broaddus Coll. Lib., Philippi, W. Va.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Thomas J. Cutler is a retired lieutenant commander and former gunner's mate second class who served in patrol craft, cruisers, destroyers, and aircraft carriers. His varied assignments included an in-country Vietnam tour, small craft command, and nine years at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he served as Executive Assistant to the Chairman of the Seamanship & Navigation Department and Associate Chairman of the History Department. While at the Academy, he was awarded the William P. Clements Award for Excellence in Education (military teacher of the year).
He is the founder and former Director of the Walbrook Maritime Academy in Baltimore. Currently he is Fleet Professor of Strategy and Policy with the Naval War College and is the Director of Professional Publishing at the U.S. Naval Institute.
Winner of the Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Naval Literature, the U.S. Maritime Literature Award, and the Naval Institute Press Author of the Year Award, his published works include The Citizen's Guide to the U.S. Navy; NavCivGuide: A Handbook for Civilians in the U.S. Navy; A Sailor's History of the U.S. Navy [one of the books in the Chief of Naval Operations Reading Program]; The Battle of Leyte Gulf; Brown Water, Black Berets: Coastal & Riverine Warfare in Vietnam; and the 22nd, 23rd (Centennial), and 24th editions of The Bluejacket's Manual. His other works include revisions of Jack Sweetman's The Illustrated History of the U.S. Naval Academy and Dutton's Nautical Navigation as well as several hundred articles in Proceedings and Naval History magazines. He and his wife, Deborah W. Cutler, are the co-editors of the Dictionary of Naval Terms and the Dictionary of Naval Abbreviations.
His books have been published in various forms, including paperback, e-book, and audio, and have appeared as main and alternate selections of the History Book Club, Military Book Club, and Book of the Month Club.
He has served as a panelist, commentator, and keynote speaker on military and writing topics at many events and for various organizations, including the Naval History and Heritage Command, Smithsonian Institution, the Navy Memorial, U.S. Naval Academy, MacArthur Memorial Foundation, Johns Hopkins University, U.S. Naval Institute, Armed Forces Electronics Communications and Electronics Association, Naval War College, Civitan, and many veterans' organizations. His television appearances include the History Channel's Biography series, A&E's Our Century, Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, and CBS's 48 Hours.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This is excellent book for anyone interested in the Vietnam War, and riverine operations.
Shellback
Thomas J. Cutler did his research, this is an excellently explained account of the US Navy's brown water sailors experience in Vietnam.
driftwood branch
I was there and this book is an accurate depiction of the roals played and some of the combat action experienced.
JL

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 10, 1998
Format: Hardcover
As a modern day "River Rat," I started reading this book, while waiting to kick off that little invasion down in Panama, affectionately known as "Operation Just Cause" in Dec 1989, and managed to finish reading it in between "Brown Water & coastal Patrols." It's hard to put down once you start reading, and CDR Cutler does this small, sub-community of Navy Special Warfare Sailors justice (pretty unique thing to do for an officer). It's the roots & history of the U.S.N.'s "Brown Water Navy", the combat tactics and actions that are still in use to this date. I highly recommend this literature work to any person(s) that's interested in the Navy, and the and the personnel that forged the Brown Water Navy's history in the volatile rivers, canals and coast line of Viet Nam. A true reflection of courage, human spirit and dedication in the most adverse conditions. PBR= Proud, Brave & Reliable! Keep the Faith
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
An excellent and highly informative narrative of the nearly unknown world of the United States Navy's small craft fleet in Vietnam. A fine reminder to the sailors of today that individual heroism in a war fought with the machine gun and not missles is part of the recent naval tradition. If anyone can say they followed the path of John Paul Jones and went into harm's way, these sailors can, and LCDR Cutler has told their story well.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was in the Naval Advisory Group at the same time as LCDR Cutler and I know where he's coming from. He did a great job of research. I'm really surprised at the volume of good factual info he managed to scrape up! BRAVO ZULU from an ex advisor at Rach Soi, Qui Nhon and Cam Ranh Bay.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Morseburg on October 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
In an interesting plot twist, the 2004 Presidential Election has brought a little known arena of the Vietnam War to light. Because Senator John F. Kerry, the Democratic nominee, made his valorous service in Vietnam a central component of his primary run and the centerpiece of his nomination speech at the Democratic Convention, a group of fellow veterans has challenged his version of events that occurred in Vietnam and ran a series of commercials attacking his credibility and calling him to account for the accusations that the young lieutenant had directed at his fellow veterans after coming home. The angry rhetoric that these two groups of veterans have exchanged has been the impetus for the press to write and speak about warfare on the coffee-brown waters of Mekong Delta back in 1968. Unfortunately, it seems like many members of the press haven't done their homework and thus the stories lack the valuable background and contextual information that would have made them more accurate.

"Brown Water, Black Berets" (which is still available) is one of the few books that have been written about the fresh water and coastal navy in Vietnam and I wish it were in wider circulation. It mainly covers the southernmost part of Vietnam, which the military cut into four tactical zones, so the bottom of the country was IV Corps. If we look at a map of Vietnam, we can see that there is a wide river, the Mekong, which empties into a vast delta, just south of Saigon. Because the Mekong ran right into the heartland of South Vietnam, it became a conduit for the North Vietnamese to smuggle arms and supplies into the south in order to equip their allies, the Vietcong guerillas.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 1997
Format: Paperback
A great first hand account of the stories and heroic contributions made by the many men of the "Brown Water Navy." I could not put the book down and read it non-stop! Thank you Sir for telling our story. A "Tango Boat Sailor"
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By mike duffy on September 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a great introduction to the US Navy's river war in Vietnam. Well written, informative, excellently researched, and very fair, it really is a must have for Vietnam history buffs. Plenty of black & white photos. I wish the Cutler had included more maps to go along with the firefights he describes so well, but this is about my only complaint.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph R. Calamia on June 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Brown Water, Black Berets" by Thomas J. Cutler is, without a doubt, one of the most exceptional historical chronologies of America's brown-water Navy that I have had the opportunity to read. It is a chronology of the development of the Riverine forces in Vietnam, but...it is not a textbook by any means! The author explains the progressive trends and development of naval tactics on the rivers, but does so with real life and death stories that pull it all out of printed pages and onto the fast flowing chocolate waters of Vietnams numerous rivers.

The author's book re-illuminated my own personal memories of those rivers until they were in bright Technicolor, and stereo sound! Mr. Cutler does a superb job of explaining each operation until the reader feels like he/she has become a certified historian of the Riverine forces and naval operations of the Vietnam War.

A great book for any historian or, veteran's library!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Happy Camper on April 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
Being a retired sailor from the end of the Vietnam era to the Gulf War's and son of a retired sailor who served from Korea through Vietnam I found this book more than a little familiar.

The author writes as though he's telling you, his friend, of his adventures in the Brown Water Navy. He tells his story and those of others as if your sucking down suds together in a smoked out bar. You're engrossed, grossed, pissed off and laughing all at the same time.

It was important for me to read this in order to understand one of my buds who served in that world, at that time, in that capacity. If you like military stories that sounds more fiction than truth but you KNOW it's real, don't pass this one up.
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