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Australian-Led Command Patrols Persian Gulf

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050510-04
Release Date: 5/10/2005 2:37:00 PM

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

ABOARD USS ANTIETAM, North Persian Gulf (NNS) -- U.S. and Australian Sailors are working side-by-side, conducting maritime security operations (MSO) in the Persian Gulf from aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54).

Approximately 20 Royal Australian Navy (RAN) sailors and RAN Commodore Steve Gilmore, commander, Task Force (CTF) 58 now serve aboard Antietam, having been deployed to the region since April 16.

This marks the first time since World War II that an Australian coalition commander has led a combined task group in operations. Antietam is the first U.S. Navy cruiser to operate as a task force flagship for a permanently embarked coalition commander.

“I am very proud for the RAN, and I am honored to command and be a part of coalition naval forces in the Arabian Gulf,” said Gilmore. “Our mission here is to detect, deter and deny any terrorist organizations or extremists posing a serious threat to key maritime infrastructures in the region, such as the Iraqi oil terminals.”

To complete this mission, Antietam and a number of ships in CTF 58 conduct MSO with Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure teams.

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.

“CTF 58 is in constant communications with other coalition naval forces to monitor the incoming and outgoing flow of ships, and ensure the security of the region,” said Gilmore.

In addition to its role as CTF 58 flagship, Antietam also plays another important role as part of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Carrier Strike Group.

“We are a multimission flagship with dual roles in CTF 58 and with the carrier strike group under Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, 5th Fleet,” said Capt. E.J. Quinn, Antietam’s commanding officer.

“The Sailors on board work with the Royal Navy, the RAN and other coalition partners to support all elements of the war on terrorism," Quinn said. "We are the CTF 58 flagship, but if called upon, we can support the needs of the Vinson.”

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