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Patrol Boats Enforce Maritime Security for Seahawk 2007

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070901-03
Release Date: 9/1/2007 8:15:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Bill Larned, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Sleek and quick to respond, the 34-foot Sea Ark patrol boats from Inshore Boat Unit (IBU) 16 commanded a significant presence in Exercise Seahawk 2007.

Exercise Seahawk, Aug. 13-24, aimed to increase interoperability and enhance cooperation between the two services which may be called upon to respond to real-world Maritime Security Operations (MSO).

MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations seek to disrupt violent extremists’ use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

Naval reservists working on Patrol Boat (PB) 508 were underway in San Diego Harbor testing the new Integrated Technical Mobility System (ITMS) to share information with other Navy units in addition to the Coast Guard.

ITMS, a real-time electronic tactical exchange transceiver installed aboard PB 508, shared the patrol boat’s real-time status through constant data transmissions to a Seahawk command tent ashore. Nautical charts outlining present location, speed and even fuel status were relayed to and updated personnel manning the Seahawk command tent.

“Our participation in Seahawk includes going underway to test new equipment such as ITMS and to train the crew in patrol boat fundamentals,” said PB 508 coxswain, Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Ruben Villanueva. “In addition, we’re also escorting ships in and out of San Diego harbor while keeping our eyes out for suspicious activity.”

Sharing information through new technology such as ITMS fulfills an important goal of Seahawk, an exercise intended to enhance cooperation and joint operations between Coast Guard and Navy units. Real-time information exchange between the two services produces a rapid and joint response to an evolving or sudden threat.

Nearly every crew member aboard PB 508 took turns at the helm controlling the boat’s progress through the harbor.

“Everyone on this craft has to be a qualified crewman and work their way up to qualified engineer,” said Villanueva, a reservist attached to IBU 16. “As much as I like driving the boats, there’s a point where I actually have to stop and give the other crew members a chance. During Seahawk and whenever we’re underway, we’re constantly training.”

Necessary training also involved learning the different disciplines of engineering, navigation and weapons handling aboard patrol boats, as well as the procedures for escorting ships, both important evolutions in the Seahawk exercise.

Nearly any Navy rate can serve aboard a patrol boat, evident in the crew complement of PB 508 that included an information systems technician, a boatswain’s mate, a gunner’s mate and a storekeeper.

Inshore Boat Units are part of the Naval Coastal Warfare team. IBU 16 supplies Sailors and boats to conduct anti-terrorism operations for U.S. maritime assets in littoral regions world-wide. These operations include force protection, harbor defense, protection of Maritime Prepositioning Force ships, and coordination with Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Units for surveillance operations.

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