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NAVY NEWS, FEBRUARY 2010 15
● Monmouth’s boarding
team under training
● LS ‘Gracie’ Fields takes
control of Monmouth’s Ops
Room during Action Stations
● Monmouth’s Commanding Offi cer
g and learning
Cdr Tony Long keeps an eye on a
replenishment at sea with RFA Bayleaf
y
with the master and crew of the vessel, thus Gulf ports, so she regularly hooks up with Lancaster has already conducted several
building vital local knowledge. auxiliary ships of the RFA, Cardigan Bay, boardings, backed by the frigate’s Lynx.
d
This contributes to a better understanding Lyme Bay and Bayleaf, as well as the USNS The ship’s deployment will continue until
t
of the overall pattern of life throughout the John Lenthall. May, and for most of the sailors
n
waters of the Gulf, which makes it easier for The frigate is due back home in onboard it represented their second
the area commanders to spot any unusual Devonport in April. consecutive Christmas away.
o
activity. Meanwhile sister ship HMS Not all her work has been done at
e
In turn this not only leads to a safer Lancaster has begun security sea, however – Lancaster conducted
t,
working environment for coalition forces but operations against seaborne the first visit to Jeddah, in Saudi
y
also for the local fishermen and traders, who crime in the Gulf of Aden and Arabia, by a Navy warship for
e
rely on these waters to survive. the wider region. almost two years.
s
By establishing regular contact with Over the next few months the She hosted a reception,
fishermen, AAVs also help plug a major Red Rose frigate – which only attended by over 140 guests,
g
gap – many of the dhows do not have returned from east of Suez a allowing various Saudi military
n
maritime VHF radios, and a personal call year ago – will be looking to officers, regional diplomats
d
by a warship can often be the only external disrupt terrorists, pirates and drug- and representatives of British
o
communication they have whilst at sea. smugglers, while also developing international agencies and industry
s
Monmouth is well equipped to carry out closer links with the merchant and to meet.
g
such visits with her Pacific 24 RiBs. fishing communities. marina Red Rose sport – p46
e
Each boat is capable of carrying six
passengers and can reach 40 knots.
y
Monmouth has her own boarding teams to
r
conduct these AAVs – a mixture of specially- Out with a big bang
r
trained members of the ship’s company,
more commonly known as the Blue Team,
ALTHOUGH the RN minehunters remain their busiest months in the Gulf.
h
and a team of Royal Marines (the Green
on station, their crews switch en masse, It started with a joint exercise with the
e
Team).
handing the ship and equipment over to the Americans (as reported in January’s Navy
e
The Green Team are specialists, members
relief crew in such a state that they can pick News) followed by preparations for the
of the Fleet Protection Group RM, based in
up the programme without a break. festive season.
Faslane, Scotland.
After six months on board MCM2 chaplain Fr David Conroy
The teams work and train side-by-side
Chiddingfold, MCM2 Crew 5 flew out to conduct a carol service,
and, with the diversity of skills amongst
returned to the UK to take over which was followed by mince pies
them, are capable of tackling a wide range
HMS Cattistock in Portsmouth and mulled wine.
of situations, from a hostile crew member to
this month. There was also the traditional
a problem with the electronics or propulsion
Crew 5 (known as ‘5 Star – ‘office Christmas party’ – with
on board a dhow.
Simply the Best’) have been part a twist, this year, as superheroes
Monmouth’s time is split between
of the UK MCM Force, deployed fancy dress was the theme.
general patrol work – her patch theoretically
to Bahrain, since last July. After Christmas Chiddingfold
stretches over nearly 2.4 million square
Their place was taken by Crew left Bahrain for Dubai.
miles – and particular missions around
3, who were plunged into a round New Year is not a bad time to
key facilities, mainly the Iraqi oil platforms
of situational awareness briefs, be in Dubai – the crew made good
which are vital to the regeneration of the
departmental handovers, equipment use of the emirates’ facilities.
Iraqi economy.
and admin checks before assuming It’s not often in January that you can
While on patrol in the Gulf Monmouth
control – once the people from Flag Officer start a day in a water park and spend the
carried out a spectacular night-shoot using
Sea Training are satisfied that they are up to afternoon carving down a ski slope in the
flares.
scratch. desert.
● Monmouth and Chiddingfold off Kuwait
The frigate’s force protection teams were
Cheery Chid’s new Commanding Officer, On the way back from Dubai the ship
put through their paces to hone their night-
Lt Cdr Jim Byron, said: “After an extensive conducted weapon training with her sister
time skills.
period of work-up and pre-deployment ships, and the clearance diving element in
PO Dave Copeland and LS Jonny
preparations, I am delighted that my team particular were keen to practise their mine
Hinchcliffe conducted the shoot with a team
are finally here and to have personally taken disposal techniques.
of aimers consisting of nine highly-trained
command of HMS Chiddingfold. As with all Navy divers they wanted to
personnel.
“My crew and I are fully prepared for the make a splash, and the resulting explosion was
The shoot was declared a success and
challenges that lie ahead over the coming spectacular – enough to obscure the ship.
LS Hinchcliffe said: “It is always good to
months, and we are firmly focused on our Crew 5 CO, Lt Cdr Charles Maynard,
conduct a night serial and I feel the members
contribution to the United Kingdom’s aims said: “We’ve certainly been tested to the full
of the team gained a lot from the exercise.
and objectives within the Gulf region. during our operational deployment, and I
“Conducting this shoot increased the
“It is a testament to the hard work of am really proud of the way that we have been
confidence of the sailors to carry out their
Crew 5 and the diligence and professional able to meet all that has been asked of us.”
operational duties.”
competence of my own crew that the HM ships Atherstone, Grimsby and
An accurate rate of fire onto the night flare
handover has gone so smoothly, and in doing Pembroke – the latter pair being Sandown-
target was achieved with over 3,600 rounds
so has provided a solid foundation from class ships – are the other three members of
of 7.62mm calibre ammunition.
which to now deploy on operations.” the UK MCM Force in theatre.
During her six-month deployment – she is
It was a hectic end to
due back in Devonport in April – the warship
the deployment for Crew 5,
will spend only a small amount of time in
with December being one of
● Monmouth’s boarding team approaches the frigate
Pictures by LA(Phot) Stuart Hill
except where stated
014-015_NN_feb.indd 2 22/1/10 14:17:18
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