Thursday, July 2, 2009

USS Anzio Relieves USS Gettysburg as CTF 151 Flagship

Seen here in this 2007 file photo, the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68) conducts a fueling at sea with Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Jon Dasbach.)

Dispatches from the Front:

USS ANZIO, At Sea, July 2, 2009 -- The guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68) relieved USS Gettysburg (CG 64) as the flagship for Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 on June 28, 2009.

"Gettysburg did an incredible job serving as our flagship from May 3 - June 28," said Turkish Navy Rear Adm. Caner Bener, commander, CTF 151. "Whatever the situation, whether engaged in the boarding, or the safe and secure holding of suspected pirates for 28 days, Gettysburg undertook them all without complaint. The experience Gettysburg and her crew brought to our mission as flagship was a major key to our success in counter-piracy operations over the last couple months."

Gettysburg participated in counter-piracy operations as part of CTF 151 since early April. In less than three months, her crew conducted several boardings, captured 17 suspected pirates and confiscated more than a dozen assault rifles and a number of rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers, RPGs, ladders and grappling hooks suspected in attacks on merchant vessels.

Gettysburg's visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team along with members of the U.S. Coast Guard's Legal Detachment (LEDET) 409 out of Miami, Fla., also captured the first and only pirate mothership taken by coalition forces.

"This has been the first occasion of Turkish flag officer with a multinational staff embarking on a United States ship," said Bener. "Doing so for the purposes of Coalition counter-piracy operations has presented a range of unique challenges and was a ground-breaking experience for us all. Gettysburg and her crew made an immeasurable impact on keeping the sea lanes of communication safe. The ship's contributions to counterpiracy operations should serve as a model to all ships to follow."

CTF 151 is a Turkish-led multinational task force established to conduct counter-piracy operations under a mission-based mandate throughout the CMF area of responsibility to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime commerce, enhance maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations.

(Report from a Combined Task Force 151 Public Affairs news release.)

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