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Iraqi Marines Participate in Boarding Exercise

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070313-14
Release Date: 3/13/2007 2:35:00 PM

From U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

USCGC WRANGELL, At Sea (NNS) -- USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332) and Iraqi marines participated in Exercise Rapid Talon on March 8 in the Persian Gulf.

“Rapid Talon is a boarding exercise for the Iraqi marines to practice their operational capability of policing the waterways from Um Qasar down to the North (Persian Gulf),” said Royal Marine Capt. Andy Goldsmith, the Iraqi marines’ training officer. “Their duty is to safely board the vessel and search through it by checking the crew, their paperwork and their cargo.”

During the exercise, Wrangell acted as a cargo ship and was boarded by 16 Iraqi troops, who transited to Wrangell aboard two fast aluminum boats.

After receiving fundamental training, Rapid Talon is an example of more intricate tactics the Iraqi troops are learning.

“Our team has been training them for about 12 months, but that started with basic military training,” said Goldsmith. “It’s only now that we’ve managed to teach the Iraqis the specialized skills that they used during this exercise."

Wrangell Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Lt. Willie Carmichael, is confident the skills Iraqi marines are learning now will strengthen their armed forces.

“The goal of our training is to bring the Iraqi marines and their maritime law enforcement security forces up to the point where they can conduct all of the operations in their territorial waters,” said Carmichael.

Goldsmith thinks the Iraqi marines are on the right track.

“The reason they’re learning so well, in my opinion, is they have some of the best instructors around,” said Goldsmith. “That includes the American Coast Guardsmen, mobile security detachments and the British Royal marines who are training them.”

Carmichael agrees the Iraqis’ training is paying dividends.

“They’re very enthusiastic about the operations out here,” said Carmichael. “We just need to take it one step at a time and continue to work toward that end goal of having Iraq stand as a nation on its own.”

Wrangell is underway performing maritime security operations (MSO) as part of Combined Task Force 158, which is commanded by Royal Navy Commodore Nick Lambert.

MSO help set conditions for security and stability in the Persian Gulf and protect Iraq’s sea-based infrastructure, which provides the Iraqi people the opportunity for self-determination.

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