Friday, March 09, 2007
Commander Naval Surface Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet (SURFLANT) toured two mine warfare class squadron’s mine countermeasures ships March 5 to evaluate the progress of the alignment of existing waterfront and type command organizations. Rear Adm. D.C. Curtis, SURFLANT, said he prefers to get out from behind his desk and visit his commands. “It’s the best way to get to know your Sailors, the ships, the needs,” he said. To strengthen surface forces and streamline costs, the Surface Warfare Enterprise formed eight class squadron (CLASSRON) implementation teams. Four of the eight CLASSRONs began operations Feb. 15 and will handle training, maintenance, personnel and logistics for ships by class. Capt. Mark Rios, the commander of the mine countermeasures ships CLASSRON said Curtis’ visit is important for ships and crews, and that, with the guidance from the Surface Force commander, they will make significant progress toward readiness. The goal, according to Curtis, is to have Navy warships and their crews ready for tasking by combatant commanders. “Mine warfare is in demand in the fleet and my staff and I are working to make sure they have all the support they need,” Curtis said. Moving swiftly through USS Warrior (MCM 7) and USS Devastator (MCM 6) Curtis engaged in frank discussions about equipment, training and life on board with several of each ship’s crew. “The admiral is sincerely interested in the men,” said Lt. Cmdr. Vince Baker, commanding officer of Warrior. “He asked questions not only of Navy things, but about their lives, their interests.” Warrior’s Mine Neutralization Vehicle (MNV) Expert, Mineman 2nd Class Craig Rosenberg, took note of the admiral's genuine interest in the crew. “[He was] asking questions, not only about the MNV but about shipboard life, if I was doing okay,” said Rosenburg. Preparing for underway training, Lt. Cmdr. Ken Reilley, commanding officer of Devastator, said it was a good visit for the admiral and crew. “This is a solid group of Sailors, raring to go,” Reilley said. After the ships’ tour, Curtis met with the commodore and staff of the MCM CLASSRON to discuss the present situation and the way ahead for training, manpower and equipping the mine warfare force. “There’s work to be done,” said Curtis. “But we’re moving forward, looking at all the options to make this command successful.” While at Naval Station Ingleside, Curtis also spoke at the inaugural Surface Navy Association luncheon and took the opportunity to reenlist one young Sailor. Reenlisting Storekeeper 3rd Class Brian Love of Crew Leader on the sunlit pier, Curtis mentioned how proud he was of the Sailors who man Mine Warfare ships. “Sailors like Love are the reason today’s Navy can defend this country,” Curtis said.

By Ed Mickley, Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command Public Affairs

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