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Shreveport Participates in Exercise Arabian Gauntlet '07

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070508-12
Release Date: 5/8/2007 5:18:00 PM

By Lt. j.g. Amy DesSureault, USS Shreveport Public Affairs Office

USS SHREVEPORT, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Shreveport (LPD 12) served as the flagship for the commander of Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCMRON) 3 during Exercise Arabian Gauntlet 2007 from April 24 to 29 in the Persian Gulf.

The exercise was designed to increase theater cooperation in combating the real and credible threat of mines in the region, as well as strengthening ties between regional and coalition nations.

Throughout the exercise, Shreveport and MCMRON 3 hosted a multinational command element aboard. The Arabian Gauntlet staff was comprised of U.S. and British forces under the direction of Capt. Kevin Tokarick, commander MCMRON 3, and Royal Navy Cmdr. Harry Blackmore, commander U.K. Mine Countermeasures Squadron 2, serving as the deputy commander.

The exercise consisted of dive operations, mine hunting and sweeping, and the establishment of safe lanes of navigation. It culminated in a simulated merchant vessel’s transit through an area that had been swept by coalition ships and aircraft. Shreveport launched its landing craft unit (LCU) early every morning to provide a forward dive platform to conduct underwater countermeasure operations.

The mine countermeasure ships not directly involved in diving operations focused their efforts on mine detection, mine sweeping, the establishment of routes for safe passage and a number of simulated oil infrastructure defense and force protection exercises.

“It was an interesting experience for Shreveport’s crew,” said Lt. j.g Robert Neuerman, Shreveport’s shipboard exercise coordinator and combat information center officer. “Working with an embarked staff and alongside our multinational partners, we learned a lot about mine countermeasures, and I hope this helps nations be better prepared for future coalition operations.”

Arabian Gauntlet 2007 offered Shreveport’s crew the opportunity to experience something different from its normal amphibious mission. The crew learned a great deal about mine countermeasures and the danger mines present to amphibious ships. “Mines are a very real threat. For large ships that go in shallow water, you have to be aware of them,” Blackmore said.

The exercise was particularly applicable in the Gulf region. In the past 20 years, mines in the region were responsible for damaging USS Princeton (CG 59), USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) and USS Tripoli (LPH 10). A number of charts of the region, especially in the north Persian Gulf, denote specified mine danger and cautionary areas. These areas exist despite years of effort to remove the threat.

Shreveport deployed as part of the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) on Jan. 4 from Norfolk for a regularly scheduled six-month deployment in support of maritime security operations (MSO).

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 the use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

Bataan ESG is commanded by Capt. Donna Looney, commander, Bataan Strike Group/Amphibious Squadron 2. Bataan ESG includes d the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., commanded by Col. Gregg Sturdevant, and Amphibious Squadron 2, USS Bataan (LHD 5), Shreveport, USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Underwood (FFG 36) and USS Scranton (SSN 756).

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