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Navy Surges Ships To Deny Terrorists Use Of Maritime Environment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050525-19
Release Date: 5/25/2005 4:47:00 PM

From Commander U.S. 2nd Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- USS Saipan (LHA 2) and two other Norfolk Naval Station-based ships deployed May 25, under the Fleet Response Plan (FRP), in support of the global war on terrorism.

Saipan is one of five East Coast ships carrying more than 2,800 Sailors rapidly deploying or “surging” for an approximately three-month deployment to the European and Central Command maritime areas of responsibility. Other ships that departed from Norfolk Naval Station include USS Nicholas (FFG 47) and USS Nashville (LPD 13).

In addition, USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) deployed from Naval Station Mayport, Fla., May 25, and USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) will deploy from Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., next week. Gunston Hall will remain deployed longer than three months to meet previously scheduled commitments overseas.

The deployment is the latest implementation of the Navy’s new operational construct, the Fleet Response Plan. FRP is about new ways of operating, training, manning, and maintaining the fleet that results in increased readiness and the ability to provide significant combat power when and where it’s needed.

“Make no mistake, we are at war. FRP is all about getting ready sooner, and remaining ready longer, and the Sailors on these ships are responding tremendously,” said Vice Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet.

He also indicated that the forces will provide meaningful presence, and be patient, focused and steadfast in their determination in winning the war on terrorism.

The simple realignment of schedules made this rapid deployment possible. This deployment follows last year’s nearly simultaneous deployment of seven carrier strike groups. It provides the Navy and the regional combatant commanders an opportunity to exercise FRP while maintaining the ability to respond to crises around the globe, enhances regional security and relationships, meets combatant commander requirements including forward presence, and demonstrates a commitment to allies and coalition partners.

According to Fitzgerald, this surge demonstrates how scalable, responsive, and uniquely capable naval power can strengthen the Navy's effectiveness in key maritime areas of interest. These ships are working with allies to detect, international terrorist organizations and disrupt and deny those organizations the use of the maritime environment. They will also work closely with allies to build regional security and long-term stability.

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