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Navy Customs Battalion Tango Gets Ready

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070831-15
Release Date: 8/31/2007 2:15:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman (SW) Seth Scarlett, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Atlantic

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (NNS) -- Navy reservists that are part of Navy Customs Battalion (NCB) Tango began pre-deployment training Aug. 20 in Williamsburg to prepare for a six-month deployment to Kuwait and Iraq.

The 450 reservists are learning to work together and build teamwork skills before deploying as customs inspectors for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"Navy Customs Battalion Tango will build on the foundation of expertise and the accomplishments of previous missions in order to provide exceptional customs inspection services for returning service members and cargo," said Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Mark Schwartzel. "We will exemplify Navy core values, and build a team that works together to enable individuals to become better citizen-Sailors."

This deployment marks the first rotation of customs inspectors in which the battalion is employing submarine force officers.

"The Sailors joining us from the submarine community have great leadership abilities, are flexible, and most important, have excellent people skills," said Schwartzel. "They're very fluid in their thinking, have the ability to react in dangerous situations and are very good crisis managers as well."

Command Master Chief (SW) Ollan Burruss, NCB Tango command master chief, said the submarine sailors were adapting to the mission very well.

“Most of our officers this time are from the submarine community, and they’ve done very well,” said Burruss. “We’ve touched on just about every Navy aspect in our battalion, from the Sea Bees to the aviation community.”

Before deploying, the battalion will undergo pre-deployment training including: Weapons training, combat skills, first aid, regulations and requirements of customs inspections.

"The training is very helpful in making sure we're all very well prepared for the upcoming deployment," said Electrician's Mate 1st Class (SW/AW) James Haitsch. "We're learning a great deal of new skills as well."

Expecting to process more than 5,000 troops a day in customs inspections, Navy Customs Battalion Tango will help Soldiers return home to their families and loved ones faster and safer.

"We want the Soldiers coming out of theater to have a very positive experience as they make their way through customs," said Schwartzel. "That way, when they get home they're reunited with their families quicker and with less hassle. Our jobs play a very important role in preventing contraband from entering the states and keeping Soldiers safe, and we do them very carefully and very professionally."

Navy Customs Battalion Tango is being trained, equipped and deployed by the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group, headquartered at Cheatham Annex in Williamsburg.



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