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USCGC Midgett Shares Law Enforcement Techniques with Djibouti Navy

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070122-04
Release Date: 1/22/2007 9:29:00 AM

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Mariana O’Leary, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti (NNS) -- The boarding team of USCGC Midgett (WHEC 726) began two days of law enforcement training and professional exchanges with the Djibouti navy Jan. 13.

The boarding team said they had a lot in common with their Djiboutian counterparts.

"I was excited to find another law enforcement organization that showed as much enthusiasm about getting boots on deck as we do,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Scott Kirker, a gunner’s mate aboard Midgett.

The teams split off into smaller groups to demonstrate handcuffing and safe weapons handling techniques with the Djiboutians on the pier, using orange plastic training guns as training aids.

“We showed them some handcuffing techniques, safe weapons handling and some easy weapons removal,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Neil Bacewicz, a gunner’s mate aboard Midgett. “I went into the training knowing that we would not have enough time to actually perfect the techniques we were demonstrating, but I was pleasantly surprised when a few of them previously had law enforcement experience with the U.S. Coast Guard in the past.”

Another mixed group of U.S. and Djiboutian officers and enlisted embarked a 44-foot motor lifeboat to go over tactics and techniques commonly employed by USCG teams while boarding a commercial vessel. The teams also worked several scenarios aboard a Djiboutian training vessel.

While demonstrating how a Djiboutian boarding team would potentially handle a non-complainant boarding, the Midgett’s team found their detaining techniques to be very similar to the USCG and were able to offer suggestions as to how they may be improved or used differently to match the situation.

"The intent of our training with the Djiboutians was not to change the way they do boardings, but instead to observe the way they work as a team and give them feedback. In essence, all we can hope for is that they walked away from the experience with a few new tools for their kit,” said Kirker.

On the second day of Midgett’s visit the cutter hosted a reception to welcome participants of the 11th Host Nations Coordinators Conference held in Djibouti by Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF HOA). With participants from Mauritius, Seychelles, Kenya, Comoros, Djibouti, Germany, Madagascar, Uganda and Yemen, the conference aimed to foster security and stability throughout the region. Along with touring Midgett and attendees were briefed on the mission of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, which manages coalition vessels conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the region.

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

As Midgett prepared to depart Djiboutian waters, the ship held one more training opportunity. As a Djiboutian navy ship pulled alongside Midgett, a boarding team practiced some of the techniques they had learned from the U.S. team and demonstrated some of their own as Midgett’s team observed. As the exercise came to a close, Midgett’s team was able to once again offer suggestions and constructive criticism.

“It’s a great opportunity for USCGC Midgett to share our knowledge with the Djiboutians. The U.S. Coast Guard has specialist experience and skills in maritime security and we want to be able to share this with partner nations,” said Capt. E. L. Alexander, commanding officer of Midgett. “It’s important to pass on this knowledge so regional countries are able to maintain the security of their own territorial waters.”

Midgett, a 378-foot high endurance cutter, has been underway since September supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and conducting MSO under CTF 150 in the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

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