Forces Combine to Train at Sea
By Maj. Stephen A. Cox, USMC
Special to the American Forces Press Service
ABOARD THE USS MOUNT WHITNEY, Gulf of Aden, Jan. 6, 2003 -- The
Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa completed a two-day
exercise with maritime forces from Combined Task Force-150 here
The two headquarters exercised operational staff procedures
aboard Mount Whitney and Spanish flagship Navarra. Also, Mount
Whitney, the German frigate Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the
German tanker Rhon served as maneuver and support elements
throughout the training. Coalition force aircraft participated
in exercise activities as well.
The training goal was to improve interoperability between
coalition forces, highlighted by four distinct scenario-driven
activities: communications testing across the full spectrum of
systems; tactical maneuvering among the vessels; maritime
intercept exercise; and coordinated live-fire attack.
The maritime intercept exercise, known as Visit, Board, Search
and Seizure, saw forces from the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern boarding
the Rhon, which acted as a rogue merchant ship. The Horn of
Africa task forces aboard Mount Whitney monitored the mission.
Subsequently, the live-fire exercise focused on simultaneously
employing the collective assets of the flotilla to attack a
target at sea. Mount Whitney and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
initially fired individually on the target, and then the ships
synchronized fire control processes to engage the target
together. In addition to surface fires from the ships, U.S. Navy
helicopters assigned to CJTF-HOA also participated in the
exercise, delivering close-in fires.
Mount Whitney and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern also exchanged four
crewmembers each during the exercise.
The exercise marks the first in a planned series of exercises
and operations between CJTF-HOA and CTF-150 forces.
Spanish Rear Adm. Juan A. Moreno commands CTF-150. He is charged
with leading a flotilla of warships from France, Great Britain,
Germany, Spain and the United States in searching for terrorist
operatives and contraband while patrolling the Red Sea, Gulf of
Aden and Indian Ocean areas around the Horn of Africa.
Maj. Gen. John F. Sattler commands CJTF-HOA, whose mission is to
detect, disrupt and defeat transnational terrorist groups in the
Horn of Africa region. This task force is also working closely
with coalition partners to establish conditions leading to long-
term stability within the region to deny the opportunity for re-
emergence of terrorist networks.
The joint task force headquarters was formed to oversee
operations in the Horn of Africa region for U.S. Central Command
in support of the global war on terrorism. The headquarters
arrived in the region Dec. 12 after sailing from Morehead City,
N.C., aboard Mount Whitney, a sophisticated command and control
ship homeported in Norfolk, Va.
(Maj. Stephen Cox is the public affairs officer for the Combined
Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa.)