Tuesday, June 23, 2009

DESRON 50 Changes Hands

Dispatches from the Front
News from U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet Combined Maritime Forces.

Dispatches from the Front:

MANAMA, Bahrain, June 23, 2009 -- Capt. Bradley Mai assumed command of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 50 during a ceremony held aboard USS Sirocco (PC 6), today.

Mai relieved Capt. Karl Van Deusen who has commanded the squadron since June 2008.

"It's been a fantastic tour," said Van Deusen. "I can't say enough about the quality of my immediate DESRON 50 staff, Patrol Forces Southwest Asia, and the eleven Commanding Officers and crews aboard our U.S. Navy and Coast Guard Patrol Boats. Additionally, along with all the professionals on the U.S. Navy staff, I've thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work with sailors from the Australian, British, Singaporean, and Iraqi navies up in Iraqi waters. Working with dedicated Sailors is always the highlight of a command tour."

Along with assuming command of DESRON 50, Mai also serves as Commander Task Force 55. For the past several years, CTF 55 has served primarily as part of Task Group Iraqi Maritime and Combined Task Force (CTF) 158, providing Maritime Infrastructure Protection in Iraq.

"DESRON 50 has performed superbly under Commodore Van Deusen's leadership," said Mai. "Of particular note is the strong working relationship they have developed with the Iraqi navy in protecting the oil platforms. Their work there has been extraordinary. It is an honor to take command of such a dedicated and successful squadron."

CTF IM's primary mission is conducting Maritime Security Operations around KAAOT and ABOT in support of the U.S. and Iraqi security agreement. This resolution charges the multinational force with the responsibility and authority to maintain security and stability in the Iraqi territorial waters and also supports the Iraqi government's request for security support. Iraq's oil platforms account for about approximately 80 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

Prior to assuming command of DESRON 50, Mai worked as Head of Surface Nuclear Programs and Policy at the Naval Personnel Command, Millington, TN.

"I am excited to continue the great work of Capt. Van Deusen and his team," said Mai. "I look forward to expanding on the coalition and multi-national relationships in theater."

DESRON 50 conducts MSO in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. These operations help develop security in the maritime environment, which promotes stability and global prosperity. These operations complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

(Report from a Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs news release.)

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