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Mine Warfare Ships Deploy to West Coast

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050404-02
Release Date: 4/4/2005 11:33:00 AM

By Fifi Kieschnick, Naval Station Ingleside Public Affairs

INGLESIDE, Texas (NNS) -- Two mine countermeasures ships departed Naval Station Ingleside April 1 for a five-month deployment that will take them through the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean and U.S. West Coast.

USS Devastator (MCM 6) and USS Scout (MCM 8) will participate in a number of exercises during the deployment including Exercise Lead Shield, which will involve freeing a port that has been mined by a fictitious terrorist group. During this exercise, Mine Warfare ships and Sailors will work hand-in-hand with members of Homeland Security, various intelligence and security agencies, U.S. Coast Guard, amphibious ships and a carrier group. Capt. Robert Riehl, commander, Mine Countermeasures Squadron 1, based in Ingleside, will spearhead mine warfare efforts during the exercise.

In addition to participating in a number of training exercises, the nearly 180 Sailors aboard the two MCMs will enjoy port visits along the West Coast.

The two Avenger-class ships are designed as mine hunter-killers capable of finding, classifying and destroying moored and bottom mines. The 224-foot, 1,300-ton mine countermeasures ships are equipped with high definition, variable-depth sonar, and a remotely operated robotic submarine used to neutralize mines. It is also capable of conventional mine sweeping measures. The ship has a fiberglass-sheathed wooden hull and is armed with two .50 caliber machine guns.

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