Originally at: http://www.blackanthem.com/News/2005082005.html
The guided missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) stands ready to defend against any attack on the Al Basrah Oil Terminal (ABOT) in Iraqi waters. Normandy is combining efforts with coalition forces under the flag of Commander Task Force Five Eight (CTF-58) in support of maritime security operations (MSO) by conducting security support for the Iraqi oil platforms. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Aaron Ansarov (RELEASED)
Blackanthem.com, ABOARD USS NORMANDY, August 20, 2005
The guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) began its journey home to Naval Station Norfolk Aug. 12 as it concludes a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf in support of maritime security operations (MSO).
According to Capt. Steve Hampton, commanding officer of Normandy, the mission has been successful due to the coalition effort. With the coalition’s presence, terrorists are being denied the use of the seas, both as transportation and a moneymaking venue. Hampton credits the coalition’s success to the Iraqi government taking charge of its own destiny.
“At sea, this is evident with the work that Commander, Task Force (CTF) 58 has done,” Hampton said. “The Australians have done a good job with the transition of securities with the Iraqi Navy and Marines. The Iraqi Navy is a professional organization, and CTF 58 has done a good job promoting that.”
Normandy’s primary mission in the North Persian Gulf was maintaining security in and around both the Al Basrah and Khawr Al Amaya oil terminals in support of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1546, which charges the multinational naval force with the responsibility and the authority to maintain security and stability in Iraqi territorial waters and also supports the government’s request for security.
Command Master Chief CMDCM John Heck, a native of Centerville, Ohio, is very proud to have served with crew members aboard Normandy for six months.
“This is one of the most motivated cruises I have ever seen. We’re doing things we have never done before,” Heck said. “We refueled Iraqi boats, transferred ammunition with Coast Guard cutters, and performed real-life Visit, Board, Search and Seizure [operations].”
“The success of any mission takes hard work,” Hampton said. “The people that are doing that are the crews of the ships here at sea, like the Navy patrol craft and patrol boats, Coast Guard cutters, British and Australian warships, and task forces that supplement our capabilities from time to time to make sure we do that.”
Hampton said the Sailors on the Normandy are doing an important job.
“The Sailor is still the key movement or linchpin to making it work,” Hampton said. “Our world today requires face-to-face contact with our friends and our potential enemies. The Sailor is doing that today just like the Marines and the Army with their boots on the ground.”
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. MSO deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
By Journalist 1st Class David M. Hamilton, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs