Saturday, September 22, 2007

Minesweepers Set for Fall Patrol

USS Patriot (MCM 7) departed Sept. 20 for a seasonal patrol throughout the Pacific region.

The underway period, set also to include USS Guardian (MCM 5), will feature regional training and diplomatic port visits to partner countries in the region.

The training will focus on enhancing interoperability and mission readiness between the U.S. and regional allies.

Highlights of those visits will be service projects, ship tours and receptions.

“The focus of this patrol is to strengthen ties, build relations, and form new friendships among partner nations,” said Lt. Cmdr. Thomas E. Shultz, Patriot Commanding officer. “These Sailors are some of the most professional in the fleet, and I fully expect them to represent this ship, the Navy and their nation well.”

Seasonal patrols, ranging from two-three months, are routine for ships in the Forward-Deployed Naval Forces.

Patriot and Guardian recently completed a spring/summer patrol, from April-July of this year, that brought them—either individually or combined—to Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei.

Due to the small nature of Patriot/Guardian, whose crew is only 80 members each, the ships are able to pull into piers not available to deep draft vessels.

For this patrol, Patriot and Guardian will again venture into areas in the region rarely visited.

Sailors aboard Patriot understand that the patrol will be challenging but are looking forward to seeing other countries, experiencing new cultures and making new friends.

“This is why I joined the Navy,” said Mineman 2nd Class (SW) John R. Golden. “I know the people back home have not seen the things that I’ve seen. The hard work pays off when you get to step foot on different countries.”

Guardian and Patriot are mine countermeasures ship forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan. Guardian and Patriot serve under Task Force 76, which serves as the 7th Fleet’s mine countermeasures arm in forward-deployed operations.