GREAT LAKES, Ill. (June 12, 2021) – The U.S. Navy Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping Chicago conducted a training exercise aboard Naval Station Great Lakes June 11-13, 2021.
This small quarterly exercise trains U.S. Navy Reserve Sailors in the policies, procedures, and measures necessary for coherent collaboration while they focus on the NCAGS ‘larger multinational exercise, the International Maritime Exercise (IMX), and prepare the regular mobilization to Manama, Bahrain.
The main goal of NCAGS, according to Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Strozewski, NCAGS-Chicago Operations Officer, is tasked with communicating global determination to preserve freedom of navigation and free trade, address threats to freedom of navigation, and build interoperability and familiarity with maritime security partners.
“These [exercise] prepares us for the daily operations and scenarios that might happen, such as a [medical evacuation]“Said Strozewski. “We also give the commander in the region information about which ships are taking which routes. You will be able to make informed decisions based on this information. ”
What makes NCAGS unique is that the unit consists entirely of reserve sailors. Reserve sailors regularly switch between Bahrain and their home town in order to keep the 5th fleet component manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“I think it makes the most sense to use reservists,” said Chief Quartermaster Phillip Rapp, assigned to NCAGS-Chicago. “Many in the merchant navy are usually also officers of the Navy Reserve” [strategic sealift officers]. “
Rapp said that Navy reservists affiliated with NCAGS can easily talk to commercial and military sailors because they walk in both worlds and are able to transfer ideas to both sides.
“There are so many more merchant ships than military ships,” said Rapp. “Communication with one another is our top priority.”
The NCAGS clock is constantly manned and serviced. The watch will notify the ship and send a welcome email within the first 96 hours before a U.S. ship arrives in the area of responsibility.
According to CMdR. Phil Casalegno, commanding officer of NCAGS-Chicago, the last IMX development in 2019, cemented global partnerships and maritime security. Now that the world is starting to open up again from the COVID-19 pandemic, NCAGS-Chicago is looking to recapture that energy.
“For reasons of economic security, it is absolutely vital for the United States and our allies that international maritime trade continues unimpeded,” said Casalegno. “Working with coalition partners and interest groups is essential to protect freedom of navigation in this critical part of the world. That is the mission of NCAGS. ”
Casalegno said that young sailors especially need the training from this exercise to prepare them for real-life scenarios.
“I’ve learned so much about merchant shipping,” said Haskin. “Before joining the unit, I thought the Navy would only deal with Navy ships. This exercise taught me so much. It keeps us where we need to be. I look forward to going to Bahrain and doing that in real life. “
NCAGS-Chicago used this exercise to prepare for the next iteration of the biennial, multinational IMX, which will take place later this year. IMX 2019 comprised 55 partner nations and seven international organizations.
NCAGS-Chicago trains and equips U.S. Navy reserve sailors to assist task commanders with risk management by providing situational awareness and near real-time information on the merchant shipping image to ensure the safe passage of merchant shipping and the safety of naval vessels through areas operating worldwide .
For more information on NCAGS Chicago, visit the NCAGS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NCAGSChicago/.
|Recording date:||December 06, 2021|
|Release Date:||07/13/2021 9:47 PM|
|Place:||GREAT LAKES, IL, US|
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