Patriot Arrives in Brunei

Friday, June 30, 2006
Sasebo, Japan-based USS Patriot (MCM 7) arrived in Brunei for a scheduled port visit June 25, meant to enhance the relationship between the U.S. and Brunei. The visit will be highlighted by a number of social and goodwill opportunities between Patriot Sailors and the people of Brunei, including top dignitaries, members of the Royal Brunei Navy and special-needs kids. “Our primary mission here is to interact with the people of Brunei so that we can work to create a stronger mutual relationship between the United States and Brunei,” said Lt. Cmdr. Richard D. Brawley, Patriot commanding officer. “We want to show the people here that we care about them and let them see our true selves as we...communicate on a personal level.”

Events planned during the port visit included a softball and soccer game between Patriot crew members and the Royal Brunei Navy (RBN); a ship tour and reception for U.S. Ambassador to Brunei, the Honorable Emil Skodon, and other distinguished officials of the Brunei government and military and a community service project at a local development center for kids with special needs. Also, embarked Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5, Detachment (Det.) 51 will conduct a passing exercise (PASSEX) with an EOD team of the RBN, consisting of briefs and a day of diving. Sailors of both navies understand the importance of interaction. “We want to show that America cares,” said Chief Electrician’s Mate (SW) Noel Corneja, the ship’s community service officer. “This is what friends do - help each other - and we want to help our friends, lift up the spirits of those kids with special needs.” A member of the RBN on hand for the welcoming agreed. “This is a good opportunity in front of us to interact, to learn from each other,” said RBN Chief Warrant Officer Zul Kiffli.

In addition, Patriot Sailors are looking forward to exploring the Brunei landscape and learning more about the country and utilizing the opportunity to be ambassadors of the United States. “This deployment has given many of us a new understanding of Southeast [Asia] and the world, and I hope that many of the crew get a chance to truly see Brunei, and understand what it is all about,” said Storekeeper 1st Class (SW) Michael Simmons, who says that he has seen quite a bit since deciding to join the Navy. “As ambassadors, I really want to see all of us make a strong impression, because I think we all realize the impact we make here will carry on to the future...for other ships and the United States in general.” Patriot is a mine countermeasures ship forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan. Patriot and USS Guardian (MCM 5) serve under Task Force 76, which serves as the U.S. 7th Fleet’s mine countermeasures arm in forward-deployed operations. The ship and embarked EODMU 5, Det. 51, are currently deployed in Southeast Asia to support 7th Fleet’s interoperability and training commitments in mine neutralization warfare and maritime operations.

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Adam R. Cole, Task Force 76 Public Affairs

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