U.S., Israel Navies Exchange Invaluable Insight During Haifa Port Visit


Story Number: NNS090309-04Release Date: 3/9/2009 3:14:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky, Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group Public Affairs

HAIFA, Israel (NNS) -- The commander of Haifa Naval Base visited the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) during the ship's port visit in Haifa, Israel, March 4.

Israel Navy Rear Adm. Ram Rutberg visited Vella Gulf to ensure the ship's Sailors enjoyed their stay in Haifa and to gain a better understanding of how Vella Gulf conducted its recent counterpiracy operations.

"As the senior officer in Haifa hosting Vella Gulf, Rear Admiral Rutberg took the time to ensure we were having a good port visit," said Capt. Mark D. Genung, Vella Gulf's commanding officer. "Additionally, since the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has had similar experiences as us in interdicting criminal smugglers and terrorists in their territorial waters, we exchanged ideas on counterpiracy operations.

"We briefed him on our experiences with suspected Somali pirates while serving as the on-scene commander (OSC) of the M/V Faina crisis and as flagship of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 in the Gulf of Aden, including our capture of 16 suspected pirates."

Lt. j.g. Richard Laraway, Vella Gulf's visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) officer, elaborated on Rutberg's visit.

"He expressed interest in our techniques for approaching suspect pirates on the water and the measures we took to ensure the safety of U.S. personnel as we engaged suspected pirates in small boats," said Laraway. "The admiral has a wealth of knowledge about asymmetric operations - operations that don't adhere to conventional warfare - and it was good to hear his perspective also."

The sharing of information and techniques between the two navies demonstrate the ever-growing reliance on bilateral operations.

"Since the USS Cole attack and 9/11, the U.S. Navy has started thinking along more asymmetric lines," said Laraway. "The Israelis have been dealing with this for decades. We can learn from their experience so we can better prepare our forces and ensure we don't provide easy targets."

The visit was considered important for both countries, for the exchange of experience and the practice of goodwill were value-added.

"It is important to have these kinds of meetings because the IDF have tremendous experience in these operations," said Genung. "Opportunities to exchange good practices and lessons learned are invaluable to both nations. It builds trust and understanding in how each other's navies operate and helps to build personal relationships that will last years."

Vella Gulf is deployed to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations to conduct maritime security operations (MSO). MSO helps develop security in the maritime environment. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. MSO complements the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seeks to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

For more news from Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/iwoesg/.

 
RELATED PHOTOS
Israel Naval Forces Rear Adm. Ram Rutberg, commander of Haifa Naval Base, is greeted by Capt. Mark D. Genung, commanding officer of the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) on the ship's quarterdeck.
090304-N-1082Z-002 HAIFA, Israel (March 4, 2009) Israel Naval Forces Rear Adm. Ram Rutberg, commander of Haifa Naval Base, is greeted by Capt. Mark D. Genung, commanding officer of the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) on the ship's quarterdeck. Vella Gulf is deployed as part of the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky/Released)
March 9, 2009
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