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Friday, November 18, 2005

Embarked Security Teams Set Standard for Maritime Security in Gulf

Embarked Security Teams (EST) based at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain continue to make up one of the most critical elements of maritime security in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation. Created in June 2004 under the umbrella of Operation Vigilant Mariner (OVM), the 11 12-man teams provide protection for Military Sealift Command (MSC) ships and their civilian crews as they ferry food, equipment and other supplies to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A typical EST escort consists of meeting an MSC ship in the Mediterranean Sea, embarking for the remainder of the ship's transit, and disembarking in the Persian Gulf or remaining with the ship as it returns to the Mediterranean Sea. Lt. Edward Young, force protection operations officer for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), and OVM program manager, said ESTs provide protection not only to MSC ships, but also to maritime prepositioning ships, fast combat support ships and bulk fuel carriers.

Young credited the EST staff with the success of the fledgling program. The predominantly junior enlisted staff members had been executing tasks usually performed by higher-ranking military personnel. He said a new command was being introduced to NSA Bahrain, Mobile Security Squadron 3 Det. Bahrain, and that its projected staff included “twice the number of bodies, and much higher ranks” than those currently running EST. He said the current teams’ performance, despite having fewer members, was a reflection of the quality and magnitude of their efforts.

Source: Navy NewsStand

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