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Reservists Play Key Role in BALTOPS 2011

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110614-07
6/14/2011

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Albert Jones, USS Mount Whitney Public Affairs

USS MOUNT WHITNEY, Baltic Sea (NNS) -- Navy reservists are providing support for Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) teams during Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2011, June 5-17.

NCAGS teams provide vital information about civilian vessels to maritime commanders and ensure the safety and security of both merchant ships and military units during times of crisis or military action. They also provide information to merchant vessels in order to help ships avoid dangerous situations.

The NCAGS capability is resides entirely within the Reserve community.

During BALTOPS 2011, this key role is being conducted by sailors from NGACS-Alpha, Naval Operational Support Center (NOSC) New York.

Working from Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic Sea, the NCAGS-Alpha team has been providing shipping information to BALTOPS 2011 exercise controllers. They are also helping to coordinate boarding and intercept scenarios for the exercise.

"We have been extremely active," said Lt. Peter Cifichiello. "The exercise scenario has provided a really challenging environment for participants."

They have also been working in concert with their Danish NCAGS colleagues from Naval District Bornholm.

"This has been a fantastic cooperative effort between ourselves and the Danish sailors," said Cmdr. Valerie Mendelson, officer-in-charge of the NCAGS-Alpha detachment on Bornholm Island. "We're learning a lot from each other. By working together, we are all developing more effective practices that can be used anywhere."

Now in its 39th year, BALTOPS is a multinational naval exercise focusing on peace and security in the region. Nations participating in BALTOPS 2011 include Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.



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