Large and in charge

Posted by lex, on August 22, 2006

News from the 5th fleet, that you might not ordinarily see:

Pakistan Navy Completes Term as Commander, Task Force 150

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Hamilton

MINA SALMAN, Bahrain – German Rear Admiral Heinrich Lange relieved Pakistani Rear Admiral Shahid Iqbal as Commander, Task Force (CTF) 150 during a change of command ceremony aboard PNS Shahjahan (D 186) pierside at Mina Salman, August 22.

The ceremony successfully concluded the Pakistan navy’s term as the first Navy in the region to command CTF 150, which conducts maritime security operations (MSO) in the Gulf of Aden, Gulf Oman, the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean.

CTF 150, established near the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, is comprised of naval ships from numerous coalition nations, currently including Germany, Pakistan, France, United Kingdom and U.S.

“As I look back on my tenure in command, I have no hesitation to say that it was the most rewarding, productive experience,” said Iqbal.  “Having to conduct a diverse nature of operations in a large area of responsibility, every single day brought new challenges.”

Guest speaker, Commander, Combined Forces Maritime Component Command Vice Adm. Patrick Walsh praised the work of Rear Adm. Iqbal and his staff.  “Your presence made a difference,” said Walsh.  “The maritime environment and all those who lived and operated in it during your command remained safe and secure.  You and your staff have every reason to be proud of your contributions, and the legacy that you leave behind will be one for others to emulate.”

Iqbal expressed confidence that he’s turning over CTF 150 to very competent hands.
“I take great pleasure in handing over the command of this fine force to Adm. Lange,” he said. “In him I find a thorough, professional and an extremely capable commander.  I’m sure that he and his team will continue with the finest traditions of the highly qualified Navy to which they belong.”

The change of command marks the fourth time the German Navy has commanded CTF 150.
“Germany is living up to it’s commitment in combating international terrorism and I am more than happy and ready to build upon the basis established by my international and national predecessors who have taken the duty of CTF 150,” said Lange.  “I feel obliged to serve the coalition to the best of my abilities and to care for the officers and Sailors under my command.”

Walsh said the change of command ceremony was a momentous occasion for US and coalition forces.
“Today is an opportunity to highlight a defining moment and mission in all of our lives as we continue our work in conducting MSO in support of Operation Enduring Freedom,” said Walsh.

MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations.  These operations deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

“The innocent who sail the waters, people who live in the region, and citizens of the world rely on coalition patrols to provide security at sea,” said Walsh.  “Your presence here today is reflective of the goals of the international community:  regardless of culture, religion, or language people desire a world where there secure or free to pursue social economic, and their own religious growth – a world of tolerance that bonds us all.

“Through MSO, our forces contribute vigilance, dedication, and professionalism,” said Walsh, “that builds a promising future.”

Blogger’s note: The casual reader may not understand just how difficult it can be to cobble together a unified command and control structure out of so many disparate forces, flung over such a wide battlespace. Sometimes it reminded me of the proverbial dog that played piano – the amazing thing was not that he could do it well, it was that he could do it at all.

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