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USS Boxer Force Protection Prepares for 5th Fleet

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS061004-16
Release Date: 10/4/2006 1:51:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman James Seward, USS Boxer Public Affairs

USS BOXER, At Sea (NNS) -- The USS Boxer (LHD 4) force protection team consisting of the ship’s master-at-arms (MA) and Ship Self Defense Force (SSDF) is currently going through an intensive set of training as the ship transits to 5th Fleet’s area of responsibility.

Defending the ship against terrorist attacks is the main focus of the training.

“We train together to ensure that the ship can properly defend itself during terrorist attacks,” said Personnel Specialist 1st Class (SW) Alexandria Dyer, assistant SSDF team leader. “We are preparing to heighten shipboard security due to rising threat conditions.”

The rigorous training cycle includes weapons handling, defense tactics and unit mobilization, which will help protect Boxer and its assets in dangerous ports and waterways. Regular training is held at sea and in port for the entire crew.

“We want to ensure all Boxer Sailors understand the importance of safety,” said Master-At-Arms 2nd Class Steven Lester. “This includes proactive prevention of terrorist acts against the ship.”

According to Boxer’s force protection officer, Chief Warrant Officer Alfonza Walton, terrorists look for easy opportunities to carry out an attack.

“The terrorist threat is not going away,” said Walton. “Boxer’s force protection team will continue to stay one step ahead of anyone who plots against us.”

Sailors and Marines not on the force protection team will be shown how to identify threats and how to help protect the ship from potential threats.

Being mindful of conversations on phones is crucial to helping prevent attacks.

“Terrorists are always looking for a loophole in the way the military operates,” said Walton.

Keeping personal cell phones off while underway is a shipboard rule, but also an important anti-terrorism tool, he said.

“Terrorists have the technology to track the ship’s movement if cell phones are on,” said Walton. “When turned on, a cell phone becomes a beacon and that can show Boxer’s every move.”

“Shipboard force protection relies heavily upon the cooperation of everyone aboard the ship,” added Walton.
“Eliminating risks in foreign ports ensures the safe return home of the Sailors and Marines attached to the ship,” he said.

Boxer, commanded by Capt. Bruce W. Nichols, is the flag ship for the Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group, operating out of San Diego. The ESG reports operationally to Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious task force.

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