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RFA Diligence Supports Iraqi Navy

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050509-07
Release Date: 5/9/2005 11:27:00 AM

By Journalist Seaman Joseph Ebalo, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

ABOARD RFA DILIGENCE, North Persian Gulf (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines from the United States, Great Britain, Poland and Australia worked with civilian mariners to convert Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ship (RFA) Diligence into a forward-deployed base for Iraqi patrol craft April 20.

This process allowed multinational naval forces to train approximately 25 Iraqi navy sailors aboard Diligence in the North Persian Gulf, under Commander, Task Force (CTF) 58.

“We teach, train and patrol with the Iraqis 24 hours a day,” said Lt. Cmdr. Phil Rogers, Royal Marines, training officer of Assistance Support Team Detachment Umm Qasr, Iraq. “The Iraqis rotate from boat handling and basic seamanship to military training, like general purpose machine gun operation and cleaning, and visit, board, search and seizure tactics."

Royal Navy sailors taught their Iraqi counterparts day-to-day maintenance and operation of the Iraqi navy’s small patrol craft, and gave lessons on how to refuel and clean the vessels. They also prepared the Iraqis to conduct maritime security operations (MSO), such as embarking with large commercial ships or monitoring the movements of tiny fishing dhows.

MSO sets the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment and complements the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO denies international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

Royal Marines gave instruction on boat security, firearms safety and hand-to-hand combat. They also conducted daily fire and man overboard drills to train Iraqi Sailors how to handle emergency situations.

Diligence is attached to CTF 58 and supports MSO under Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet.

RFA Diligence has been stationed in the Persian Gulf since 2002 and is not scheduled to return to Great Britain until 2008.

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