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FFestival pest r ak
WHEN operating warships
thousands of miles from home,
you sometimes need a friendly
For the various ships operating
in the Gulf, that friendly shore
(or port, to be more accurate)
has often been in Kuwait.
So in order to demonstrate
the UK’s and Royal Navy’s
appreciation for the host nation
and security support, a ‘Thank
You Kuwait’ festival was staged,
hosted by the UK Maritime
Component Commander Bahrain
and the British Embassy.
Among the ships drafted in to
play their part were Type 23 frigate HMS
Monmouth, Hunt-class minehunters HMS
Atherstone and Chiddingfold and landing
ship RFA Lyme Bay.
Beginning with an ‘operational capability
demonstration’ for a number of
distinguished guests, including the
Ambassador to Kuwait, Michael
Aron, and the Commander Kuwait
Navy, Maj Gen Ahmed Yousef Al
Mulla, Monmouth conducted a set
of formation manoeuvres with the
two minehunters, Lyme Bay and
Kuwaiti Super Puma, Apache,
and F/A18 aircraft.
In the evening the Black Duke
and embassy staff co-hosted a
reception onboard the frigate for
Kuwaiti dignitaries and VIPs.
To emphasise the importance of joint
operations, the festival was concluded with
UK and US are
a formal lunch at the UK Embassy, for
which Monmouth provided six hosts and a
ceremonial guard.
During this lunch, guests were able
an ITAM again
to witness a formation sail past for
which the UK flotilla was joined by
two ships from the Kuwaiti Coast
Guard and four from the Kuwaiti
Navy – more about that later.
AFTER a gap of almost four coast guard who have remained The event also offered the Navy
months, around 75 UK sailors, in Umm Qasr to drive forward the the chance to thank the ex-pat
Royal Marines and soldiers good work. community who continue to
rejoined American colleagues in “I am delighted that the Iraqi support UK armed forces in this
the Iraqi Training and Advisory Government has invited the UK strategically-important region.
Mission – Navy (ITAM-N) based to return, and I know my team are On her final day alongside,
at Umm Qasr in Southern Iraq. pleased to be back.” Monmouth played host to 11
The coalition team, part of the He added: “The training, schoolchildren, teachers and
multi-national Security Transition advisory and mentoring task is parents, taking them on tours
Command Iraq, train, advise a tremendous challenge both around the ship, entertaining them and
and mentor their Iraqi navy and my UK and US colleagues are then giving them a bite to eat.
marine counterparts as part of prepared for. This was in honour of a promise made
the security transition mission. “Our coalition predecessors, to the children during a formal ball which
The Commanding Officer of who have been here since 2004, raised more than £2,000 for the Help For
the ITAM-N team, Capt Jamie have done much groundwork and Heroes charity.
McMichael-Phillip, returned to we now have to build on that to Since the Black Duke left UK
Iraq in early November in advance ensure that we assist the Iraqi waters at the end of September she
of the others. Navy in building their capability has participated in three operations
He said: “Recent months have as a security force for good.” – Active Endeavour, Calash and
been frustrating both for my Royal In conjunction with the Telic – covering more than 7,000
Navy team, who were mostly coalition, the Iraqi naval service, nautical miles.
back in the UK, and also for our which covers both sailors and She has also visited Gibraltar,
colleagues from the US Navy marines, has taken on the role of Alexandria, Bahrain, Kuwait
in Iraq, along with marines and protecting the two oil platforms City and Abu Dhabi along the
in the Northern Arabian Gulf, way.
as well as wider defence of its For the latest leg of her six-
territorial waters. month deployment Monmouth
The Iraqis have just taken has joined Combined Task Force
delivery of two new Italian-built Iraqi Maritime in the Northern
patrol ships to bolster their fleet. Arabian Gulf.
Two further patrol ships will She will be the lead frigate protecting the
follow, as well as a number of two Iraqi oil platforms, Khawr Al Amaya
patrol boats from the Americans. oil terminal or KAAOT and Al Basrah
● Clockwise from top right: HMS Monmouth takes part in the ‘Thank You Kuw
Exercise Shamal with American forces; Atherstone refuels from the American
Shamal; RFA Lyme Bay and HMS Chiddingfold during the precision Offi cer of
Kuwait’ festival; Monmouth lives up to her nickname – the Black Duke – during o
Royal Marines boarding party conducts a friendly ‘assurance visit’ to local fi she
exercise is held by Monmouth in the Gulf of Aden; Monmouth carries out a night s
Gulf, when the Command team put the frigate’s Force Protection Teams through
the use of Paralume fl ares. PO Dave Copeland and LS Jonny Hinchcliffe conduc
gun and Minigun, using a nine-strong team of aimers
Pictures: LA(Phot) Stuart Hill
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