Wednesday, June 17, 2009

CTF 152 Concludes Exercise Goalkeeper

ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- Combined Task Force (CTF) 152 recently concluded an eight-day, multilateral exercise in the Arabian Gulf, aimed at improving capabilities of coalition partners to counter smuggling operations.

Exercise Goalkeeper 2009, led by Capt. Mark Sedlacek, commander, Combined Task Group 152.1, provided coalition forces with best practices exercises and enhanced visit board search and seizure (VBSS) training opportunities for maritime security operations (MSO).

"In addition to familiarizing all forces with MSO, Goalkeeper emphasized the tactics and procedures required for covertly locating and tracking a vessel of interest," said Sedlacek. "This exercise also provided an opportunity for regional coalition naval forces to work together in the maritime environment and help improve coordination and communication."

During the exercise, joint training in operational procedures and boarding techniques for VBSS was conducted with U.S. naval and Coast Guard forces, Royal Navy Sailors and Marines as well as the Royal Bahrain Navy and Coast Guard.

Coalition units that participated in the exercise included RBNS Al-Muharraq (FPBBH 51), RBNS Al-Fadhel (TNCBH 22), USCGC Maui (WPB-1304), HMS Richmond (F239), staff members from Destroyer Squadron 28 and a variety of other small craft used in the counter-smuggling scenario.

Additionally, regional observers embarked aboard Richmond and were able to expand their knowledge through information exchanges and by observing the two distinct phases of Goalkeeper.

"We enjoyed the opportunity to train and work with our international partners in the Gulf Region," said Lt. Matt Rooney, USCG Maui's commanding officer. "The Royal Bahrain Naval Forces boarding teams showed remarkable knowledge in their boarding technique and procedures throughout the exercise."

First Lieutenant Essa S. Saqer, of the Royal Bahrain Navy was also appreciative of the joint training conducted with the U.S. Coast Guard.

"This exercise made significant contributions toward helping us better train to secure our territorial waters from future threats," he said.

Commanded by Rear Adm. Kurt Tidd, CTF 152 is an international task force that conducts MSO inside the Persian Gulf and complements the security activities of Gulf Cooperation Council nations.

MSO help develop security in the maritime environment and complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. These operations seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment to transport personnel and weapons or serve as a venue for attack.