Coalition Task Force Provides Security in Northern Persian Gulf
By Petty Officer 1st Class Jay Price, USN
Special to American Forces Press Service
ABOARD USS PELELIU IN THE NORTHERN PERSIAN GULF, April 13, 2006 A multinational task force is hard at work here, seeking to preserve the free and secure use of the northern Persian Gulf by legitimate mariners and to prevent terrorists from transporting personnel, weapons or other illicit material by sea.
Combined Task Force 58 includes naval forces from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, including U.S. Coast Guard, as well as Iraqi sailors and marines.
U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Carl B. Jensen, who leads Expeditionary Strike Group 3, took command of the task force April 10.
"Maritime security operations encompass a wide range of actions and responsibilities," Jensen said. "ESG 3, in conjunction with our coalition partners, will conduct coordinated maritime operations in the area to provide security, which will in turn promote regional economic stability and prosperity. Further, we'll do everything in our power to facilitate the development and close integration of Iraqi maritime forces," he added.
CTF 58's primary mission is maintaining security in and around both the Basra and Khawr Al Amaya oil terminals in support of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1546. This resolution charges the multinational force with the responsibility and the authority to maintain security and stability in Iraqi territorial waters and also supports the Iraqi government's request for security support.
The oil terminals are significant sources of revenue for the Iraqi people -- revenue that is important to the rebuilding of Iraq. Iraqi security forces, working with U.S. Navy security teams, serve on board the terminals, protecting the Iraqi infrastructure.
USS Peleliu serves as Jensen's flagship, marking the second time a U.S. Marine general has flown his flag over a U.S. Navy ship as part of an expeditionary strike group in the northern Persian Gulf.
"Frankly, I'm humbled by the assignment and would be quite apprehensive if I didn't have a strike group's worth of magnificent sailors and Marines behind me," said Jensen. "Fortunately, I stand upon the shoulders of giants."
(Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jay Price is assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet.)