Throughout the story of The Boys by Garth Ennis, there are numerous mentions of so-called "Red River personnel," which are known to have infiltrated the U.S. Secret Service (Herogasm #4) and were tasked with securing the vice president, Vic the Veep. It is never explained though, who exactly these people are. The president himself is also aware of their existence, as he mentions them in The Boys #59-62 as kind of hostile.

So what is Red River exactly?

P.S. I'm not from the U.S., so if it's common knowledge I'll accept that answer.

  • According to the wiki, it's controlled by Vought-American and is basically a paramilitary black op
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 6:53

2 Answers 2


It is not spelled out explicitly, but the reader is supposed to infer that Red River is an "independent military contractor" (a modern western euphemism for "mercenary company"). This is strongly suggested by the similarity of the name to Blackwater USA, a U.S.-based military contractor that was active during the same period that The Boys takes place. Both companies have names beginning with colors and referring to particular rural areas of the United States. The Red River is actually a better known geographical feature than the Blackwater region of North Carolina, probably to try to ensure that Ennis's American audience did not miss the reference.

Blackwater (which has since changed its name, twice, trying to get away from the bad reputation it built up during the first decade of this century) was known for its incompetence and excessive use of violence in Iraq, where its mercs were employed by U.S. government agencies as guards and in military support roles. The most infamous event was the Nisour Square Massacre, in which a group of Blackwater guards panicked and shot a large number of innocent bystanders. This event ultimately led to the company losing its authorization to operate in Iraq. So the well-known repuation of Blackwater would inform readers what kind of operation they should expect Red River to be.

(It has been suggested that the name "Blackwater" itself may have been partially chosen by the founder Erik Prince to be reminiscent of traditional European mercenary company names. For example, there was the legendary White Company, led by the the Englishmen John Hawkwood. Composed mostly of English, German, French, and Hungarian soldiers, it fought for many different masters during the Italian wars of the fourteenth century, later lauded as a group of heroes by some chroniclers and reviled as little more than brigands by others. Whether this color connection had anything to do with the naming of "Blackwater," however, is still not clear.)


Paramilitary mercenary unit. Or, to be more precise, they are private military contractors/ private military company, created and loyal to Vought-American but occasionally hired by US government.

Basically, trained and heavily armed forces used when direct application of force or security duty is needed for Vought-American needs.

  • 1
    The name night be a reference to the infamous Blackwater PMC.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 22:32
  • Can you offer any evidence that confirms this?
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 23:07

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