By SOF Editor on Wed, 11/04/2009 - 10:22am
In the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR), the men and women of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 50 play a vital role in providing maritime security by protecting sea lanes, conducting naval presence missions and ensuring freedom of navigation throughout the Arabian Gulf.
Although previously focusing on similar missions in the North Arabian Gulf, DESRON 50 has expanded its focus to include the mission of Combined Task Group 152.1, supporting Combined Task Force (CTF) 152 in working with coalition and regional partners to ensure maritime security throughout the Arabian Gulf.
"Our new tasking makes perfect sense given our role as the theater's permanent DESRON," said Capt. Brad Mai, who commands DESRON 50. "Our consistent presence in the Arabian Gulf not only allows us to build and maintain long-term relationships with our coalition partners in support of theater security cooperation missions, but it also allows us to become subject matter experts on the region in support of our maritime security operations objectives."
Lt. Cmdr. Erik Lindstrand, DESRON 50's current operations officer, added that all missions in the region have a coalition flavor.
"On any given day in the Arabian Gulf, one can find U.S. ships working alongside U.K. (United Kingdom), Australian or French warships, in addition to assets provided by our Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners," said Lindstrand. "These coalition warships all have a common goal of creating the safest water space possible for legitimate merchant traffic, area fishermen and other commercial operations."
DESRON 50 is not limited to sea-based coalition involvement, however. Assisting and preparing our coalition partners for command of CTF 152 has become a major focus of efforts for the DESRON staff. Joint, bilateral and combined exercises along with focused operations are the foremost enablers for this preparation.
"In August alone, DESRON 50 concurrently ran a bilateral exercise in the Red Sea, a maritime infrastructure protection exercise in the Northern Arabian Gulf and a separate operation focused on countering illicit activity in the Central and Southern Arabian Gulf," said Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Turner, DESRON 50's future operations and plans officer.
DESRON 50 was originally established in 1943 to operate with Pacific Fleet fast-carrier task groups. Consisting of nine Fletcher-class destroyers, 2100-ton variants, the squadron led the Pacific Island campaign through 1945. Soon after the end of World War II, the nine destroyers along with DESRON 50 were decommissioned. Revived in 1994, DESRON 50 established the model for the current stand-alone DESRONs utilized in the 5th, 6th and 7th Fleet AORs.