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USS Dextrous Crew Constant Prepares for Maritime Security Operations

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050825-10
Release Date: 8/25/2005 12:51:00 PM

By Journalist 2nd Class Elton Shaw, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- The crew of USS Dextrous (MCM 13) got underway Aug. 18 from the Mina Salman pier in Bahrain to conduct sea trials, following a four-month maintenance period.

The three-day sea trial period gave the crew a chance to test all newly installed or recently improved systems after spending March to July in the island country of Bahrain overhauling major equipment, to include repairing a rudder, replacing wood from the bow of the mine hunter, repainting the ship and cleaning the hull.

“Right now, we’re conducting sea trials and testing equipment, so when we go over the horizon we’ll be ready to go do our job,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jefferey A. Bennett II, Dextrous commanding officer.

The captain of the 72-man crew, known as "Crew Constant," said the dry dock period was an arduous time, but the ship is essentially ready to go right now.

“Ships are designed to be at sea, not on blocks,” said Bennett. “So we’re out here testing the systems to make sure they’re working properly.”

“Our business out here is to keep the sea lines of communication open for ships to pass through,” said Bennett. “We hunt, classify and neutralize mines, as well as take part in regional engagements through exercises.”

Dextrous, one of four mine warfare ships forward deployed in the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command area of responsibility, employs its mine hunting capabilities in support of MSO.

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

Crew Constant uses specialized, high-tech equipment, such as radar and mine disarming systems and mine neutralization vehicles, to carry out its mission.

In addition to putting the equipment through its paces during sea trials, the Sailors conducted in-rate and professional training to help prepare them for the MSO mission. Electronics Technician 1st Class Kenneth Hudson, Crew Constant’s electronics material officer, said proper training and teamwork are needed to operate the ship’s high-tech equipment.

“It is my job to train Sailors on how to use radar and other communication systems so they’re prepared,” said Hudson. “We all need to be trained and ready to go, because we all fight together as a team.”

Bennett believes his Crew Constant team makes Dextrous’ mission accomplishment possible.

“The work they do every day makes them the lifeboats of the ship,” said Bennett. “John Paul Jones said it best when he said ‘Sailors truly do mean more to a ship than guns.’”


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