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Shreveport at the Forefront of Coalition Building

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070515-19
Release Date: 5/15/2007 4:01:00 PM

By Mass Communication Seaman Seth Clarke, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, Public Affairs

USS SHREVEPORT, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious docking ship USS Shreveport (LPD 12) have been working toward building lasting cooperation between the United States and its coalition and regional partners in an effort that supports Chief of Naval Operations’ 1,000-ship navy strategy.

"We're partnering so we can get to the point where we can achieve common goals with coalition and regional forces,” said Capt. Paul Monger, Shreveport's commanding officer. “Everything from sharing with other countries how we do business to the specifics of how to run a mission, to the general relationship that comes from working with another military -- we like sharing ideas with our partners. We have the same goal and that's to be a professional force."

Lt. j.g. Amy DesSureault, the ship's navigator, says both the size and scope of partnerships seem to be growing.

"Our interaction with coalition and regional forces has been all over the map, everywhere from the Indian Ocean to the Arabian Gulf and beyond,” said DesSureault. “We're getting a lot more interaction in different areas. It's definitely increasing our awareness of other cultures and countries we're not used to operating with." (The Arabian Gulf is the body of water more commonly known as the Persian Gulf.)

The Shreveport's training officer, Lt. j.g. Eddie Allen, said although all U.S. ships have the capability to train other forces, ships like the Shreveport are particularly well-suited to coalition-building.

“I think that when it comes to U.S. forces, amphibious ships can do a lot to train coalition and regional forces," said Allen.

From the well deck, the ship can launch and recover landing craft air cushions, landing craft units and amphibious assault vehicles.

"That’s the part the observers enjoy most,” said Allen.

While the amphibious activities may draw a more enthusiastic response, Monger noted that mine warfare training is a critical component for all countries operating in the Gulf.

"Mine warfare is very important," he said. "It is something that is a possible threat here, so it is something that is important to us and the other forces in this region.”

DesSureault said the recent mine countermeasures exercise, Arabian Gauntlet, was a valuable tool in determining differences as well as commonalities between the U.S. and partner countries.

"You begin to realize that different countries have different policies, so if you're faced with a real threat, you know who you can call on,” said DesSureault. “You know which country will have the assets you can use. It allows you to realize there are different protocols for different countries and the various resources they have available."

Allen found the training of other forces to be enjoyable.

"It felt as though they were part of the crew,” said Allen. “They enjoyed every bit of their time on board Shreveport. That's going to achieve a lot for unity between other countries and the United States. As a nation, we have gained another friend to help us if we need assistance. And we'll assist them, too."

During this deployment, Shreveport has hosted a visit, board, search and seizure demonstration for coalition military and government officials, and served as the flagship for Arabian Gauntlet 2007, hosting military observers from regional partner nations.

The Bataan Strike Group, along with elements of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, also conducted a community relations project at a medical clinic and school in Kenya.

Shreveport is currently on a regularly scheduled deployment to support Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations as part of the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG).

Coalition forces conduct MSO under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that all commercial shipping can operate freely while transiting the region.

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