Story by PO2 Curtis Spencer on 06/14/2017
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) and the "Scorpions" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49 received a Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation during a ceremony held in San Diego aboard Spruance, June 13.
U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Matthew J. Gimple, chief of staff at Commander, 11th Coast Guard District, presented the award on behalf of Commander, 14th Coast Guard District, which is located in Honolulu.
"It is remarkable to be standing on this ship with a crew who are prepared for anything," said Gimple. "That translates to good partnerships with our partner nations and a continuing relationship with the U.S. Coast Guard. The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy have worked together at war and at peace from the very origins of our country. We continue to demonstrate the good things that come out of that."
Spruance and HSM 49 received the award for their support of a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment from Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team Detachment 108, which embarked the ship in support of the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) during Spruance and HSM 49's recent deployment. OMSI is a cooperative service strategy designed to increase overall theater security in Oceania through maritime enforcement of transitional crime and participation in partnership.
"This was a complete team effort," said Cmdr. Robert Kimnach, commanding officer of HSM 49. "Everyone involved sought out and conquered challenges throughout the evolution. It was rewarding to be a part of this amazing team."
The team was tasked with enforcement of Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission regulations as well as bilateral enforcement of fishery regulations inside Federated States of Micronesia and Palau waters. The patrols led to 20 successful boarding operations, during which five significant violations were detected.
"Without our participation in OMSI, there would be a great danger to the regional economy," Cmdr. Josh Menzel, commanding officer of USS Spruance. "Our patrols directly aided and benefited the fisheries, which are a large part of the local economy in Oceania."
"The cohesive operation greatly strengthened cooperation between the U.S. Navy, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau authorities," according to the citation from U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Vincent B. Atkins, commander, 14th district Coast Guard. "In addition, the team fostered foreign relations and improved strategic partnerships during OMSI by providing a compelling maritime authority and a jurisdiction brief with a hands-on boarding demonstration to Tongan military and customs personnel."
"Every part of the team was prepared and ready prior to the exercise," said Spruance Command Master Chief Raul M. Delacruz. "The preparedness and the determined attitudes of the crew directly lead to success during all facets of the mission."
Spruance and HSM 49 are homeported in San Diego and Coronado, California, respectively, and are part of U.S. 3rd Fleet. U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.
For more information on USS Spruance (DDG 111), visit: www.public.navy.mil/surfor/ddg111/Pages/default.aspx
For more news from Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/c3f/.
Story by Shawn Parrish on 04/01/2017
HONOLULU - Joint Interagency Task Force West held its 17th change of command ceremony bidding farewell to U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Keith M. Smith and welcoming Rear Adm. Donna L. Cottrell, at Camp H. M. Smith, March 31. Smith, a native of Cypress, California, served as the Director of Joint Interagency Task Force West from May 2015 to March 2017. He will be reporting as Commander to U.S. Coast Guard Force Readiness Command, in Norfolk, Virginia.
During Smith's tenure as director, Joint Interagency Task Force West conducted 87 counter narcotics capacity building missions that provided training to more than 1800 partner nation law enforcement members. Tri-lateral counternarcotics' training including both Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan forces was also conducted, the first time a counternarcotics mission has been accomplished in Sri Lanka.
Smith is best known for operationalizing and optimizing the Task Force through a major internal reorganization combining intelligence and operations activities into a single directorate and establishing a new Counter Narcotics Operations Center. During his tenure, Task Force contributions have resulted in the successful seizure of over 140 metric tons of chemical precursors used in the illicit synthesis of methamphetamine, over 3 metric tons of cocaine, and the seizure of illicit funds equivalent to $2 million.
Cottrell is from Wellington, Ohio, with more than 30 years of service. She most recently served as the Deputy to the Assistant Commandant for Capability, sourcing capabilities to meet U.S. Coast Guard mission requirements, and developing service wide policies for equipping and sustaining Coast Guard members.
Both Cottrell and Smith share the distinction among current Coast Guard Admirals of having prior enlisted service before receiving their commission. Smith was a former air crewman, and Cottrell, served as a boatswain's mate and aviation electronics technician.
Joint Interagency Task Force West plans and conducts Department of Defense counterdrug activities in order to increase regional stability and disrupt transnational criminal organizations that threaten global interests in the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility.