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Guardian, Patriot Make Brief Port Visit in Brunei

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070505-09
Release Date: 5/5/2007 9:52:00 PM

By Lt j.g. Steve Peterson, USS Guardian Public Affairs

MUARA PORT, Brunei (NNS) -- Sasebo, Japan-based minesweepers USS Guardian (MCM 5) and USS Patriot (MCM 7) made a scheduled port visit April 30-May 1 to Brunei Darussalam, a country on the island of Borneo.

In the short time the ships were there, about 24 hours, Guardian and Patriot refueled, onloaded stores and participated in a community service project before continuing its deployment throughout Southeast Asia.

The ships also welcomed U.S. Ambassador to Brunei Emil Skodon, who reiterated to the crews the importance of building U.S.-Brunei relations.

As well, the ships embarked members of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5, Detachment (Det) 51, based in Sasebo, who completed a passing exercise (PASSEX) with the Brunei EOD armed forces a week before the ships’ arrival. The EOD units will stay on the MCM platforms throughout the deployment to achieve various training commitments.

“Bilateral military exercises are one of the key components to our relationship with Brunei,” said Skodon, referring to the EOD PASSEX and near-term Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) to be held later in the summer.

“Your presence here and these exercises continue to develop close strategic ties with Brunei.”

Guardian commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Steve DeMoss, added that the more U.S. Sailors understand Brunei and its people, the better relations will be overall.

“This port visit, though brief, is a good opportunity for our Sailors to get to know this country culturally and build bonds with our Brunei counterparts,” said DeMoss. “We hope that through continual relationship building, by being good ambassadors, we will be able to work more closely with the Brunei naval and armed forces.”

Almost immediately after arriving in Brunei, 30 crewmembers from Guardian and Patriot, volunteered for a community service project to clean up a local beach, as a way of extending a helping hand to the Bruneian people.

“It’s a way for us to display our appreciation to the people of Brunei who are hosting our ship -- if only for a short time,” said Mineman 1st Class Sean Silman, who organized the project.

In the time left in Brunei, Guardian and Patriot Sailors took advantage of their short stay, sampling the native cuisine and the opportunity to shop.

“I feel like we’ve accomplished so much already, but I know that there is still a lot of work to be done over the course of this deployment,” said Quartermaster Seaman Laban Thompson. “The way I see it, the fun has just started.”

For Guardian, the ship completed numerous mine sweeping operations, conducted a replenishment at sea with USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199) and saw their top enlisted leader advance to master chief petty officer.

Patriot and Guardian, with embarked EODMU 5 Det. 51, are currently on deployment in Southeast Asia to support the U.S. 7th Fleet’s interoperability and training commitments in mine neutralization warfare and maritime operations. Patriot and Guardian serve under Task Force 76, based out of Okinawa, Japan with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.



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