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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Somali Pirates: USS Boxer now CTF-151 Flagship

Carrying Marines and Navy helicopters, USS Boxer (LHD-4) takes on the duties as Anti-Piracy Task Force 151 flagship, as set out here:
Along with a Navy helicopter detachment, Boxer also has embarked Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which includes several types of combat aircraft from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 (reinforced).

The task force is commanded by Rear Adm. Terry McKnight.
See also this Navy Press Release by MCS1 Hall:
Established in early January, CTF 151's mandate is to deter and disrupt piracy in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea and currently includes naval forces from the United States, United Kingdom, Denmark and Turkey.

"We've had a great deal of success in deterring piracy to this point," said Rear Adm. Terence McKnight, commander, CTF 151. "We've conducted counter-piracy operations on the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17), two guided-missile cruisers -- USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USS Monterey (CG 61) -- and now we're going to continue our mission on Boxer, which continues our line of extremely flexible platforms. Boxer has a lot to offer in the fight against piracy."

McKnight said that CTF 151 has coordinated with many nations to help thwart piracy in the region.

"Piracy isn't a problem that affects one or two nations," he said. "It's a problem that affects the whole world and the free flow of commerce in the world's waterways. Piracy requires an international solution."

Capt. Mark Cedrun, Boxer's commanding officer, said the amphibious assault ship provides an exceptional and diverse array of options to commanders in tracking, identifying and deterring piracy at sea.

"We bring unique and very effective tools to the theatre to accomplish any mission or assignment," he said. "Whether it's humanitarian assistance or counter-piracy operations, we're ready."

Boxer's embarked units include the Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21 Detachment 3, Naval Beach Group 1, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5, ACU 1, Beach Master Unit 1, Fleet Surgical Team 5 and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

Boxer photo: Official U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Paul Polach.

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