Skip to comments.ESG 3 Hands Over CTF 158 Mission in North Arabian Gulf
Posted on 06/26/2006 9:18:23 PM PDT by SandRat
USS PORT ROYAL (CG 73), North Arabian Gulf Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3, U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Carl Jensen, turned over command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 158 to Royal Australian Navy Commodore Peter Lockwood June 23.
CTF 158 is responsible for Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the North Arabian Gulf (NAG). This coalition force works with the Iraqi navy to protect key oil producing assets. MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the NAG and protect Iraq 's sea-based infrastructure which provides the Iraqi people the opportunity for self-determination.
These are some tough conditions that they're working under, but their performance has been absolutely superb, said Jensen. There's nothing I can compare it to in my career. Fortunately, I'm able to lean shamelessly on some great Sailors and some magnificent officers who support me.
Cmdr. Eric Phipps, who served as the deputy commander for Task Group 158.1, said his team implemented several new initiatives and focused largely on improving relations and increasing awareness of local fisherman and merchant mariners. They also intensified the training of the Iraqi sailors and marines. The Iraqis regularly attended classes pertaining to command and control, first aid, basic shipboard maintenance and engineering.
We've seen considerable improvement in basic fundamental tactics and procedures by the Iraqi navy and marines, added Phipps.
More importantly, we were able to establish a rapport with the Iraqis that I think will benefit the coalition and the Iraqis for some time, said Jensen. I think they trust us more just because we're sharing and they learn so much. They're so motivated; they really are a bunch of professionals.
During the turnover with the American-led CTF 158.1, the Australians were given in-depth briefings and observed various training exercises so they could witness the Iraqi navy and marine integration firsthand.
We've gotten a lot of guidance, said Royal Australian Navy Capt. Gregory Sammut. They've provided us with a good understanding of the current situation in the theatre.
Sammut said he's looking forward to serving in this vital role during the next few months.
There are a number of challenges ahead of us, he said. We look forward to meeting those challenges and advancing the mission.
Jensen said he learned so much as commander of a task force consisting of U.S. and coalition vessels.
Everyone brings something unique to the fight here, said Jensen. Every nation has a unique skill set, every nation brings different types of ships, and the cooperation has been nothing short of remarkable. Everyone has shown up on station with a sincere desire to help the big team and assist the Iraqis.
Why be politically correct, to please the Iranians? It should remain the Persian Gulf.
Actually, calling it the Arabian Gulf ticks off the Persians.