The crew of USS Hurricane (PC 3), from Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, arrived on station in the North Arabian Gulf April 15 and assumed control of Norfolk-based USS Sirocco (PC 6), as part of the Navy’s sea swap program.
This allowed Sirocco to remain on station to provide a continuous presence in the Arabian Gulf to protect Iraqi oil terminals and to conduct maritime security operations (MSO).
Sirocco and coalition forces continue to conduct operations in the waters around the Khawr Al Amaya (KAAOT) and Al Basrah (ABOT) oil terminals while Iraqi security forces are on board the terminals, protecting Iraqi infrastructure.
Security of these terminals is a high priority.
“That is our number one mission here; to ensure those terminals are safe,” said Lt. Matthew Lambert, Sirocco’s commanding officer. “The oil that comes out of there is important for the reconstruction of Iraq and the future of the new republic.”
MSO set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations by denying international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other material.
Sirroco, equipped with 25mm cannons, .50-caliber machine guns, and M-60s can be augmented with Coast Guard law enforcement detachments.
“The work we do out here is very crucial to the stability in Iraq,” said Lt. Geoff Miller, Sirocco’s executive officer. “Whatever the mission is, whether it’s protecting the platforms or searching vessels, the crew of Sirocco is ready to go. And in just the short amount of time we’ve been out here, the crew has done a great job.”
Patrol craft are an important part of MSO. These small, fast, maneuverable craft are able to react faster than larger Navy vessels.
“The PCs are very important,” said Lambert. We can protect the terminals and stop terrorists from operating in the area. And given the importance of the terminals, Sirocco will continue to protect them at all costs.”
Update: And don't forget the MIUWU team
Sailors from Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit (MIUWU) 102 integrated training team conducted training at Camp Patriot, Kuwait, May 21 with four units from Naval Coastal Warfare Squadron 33 in order to enhance the group’s ability to work together as a team.As noted before, US sailors are keeping an eye on this vital Iraqi national asset.
The purpose of the integrated training team (ITT) is to take highly specialized individual unit capabilities and tie them into a single fighting force.
“The purpose of the training is to not only to flawlessly perform the mission, but also to do it safely,” said Cmdr. Gary Whitman, commanding officer of MIUWU 102. “The more effective and efficient we are at our mission, the less likely a terrorist will be successful at his.”
MIUWU 102 is part of Naval Coastal Warfare Squadron 33, based in Spokane, Wash.
Their mission is to protect high value assets, including harbors and ports, warships and coastal bases anywhere in the world.
Training is a constant during the course of every watch.
Everyday, each watch section is given a list of required training to complete during its shift. ITT scenarios are conducted three to four times a week depending on the operational schedule.