USS MAHAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Individual augmentee (IA) Sailors are engaged in joint and combined operations around the globe. From the Pacific to the Middle East, IAs are working with members of other services and nations, and what makes them productive and efficient is the cooperation between Navy IAs and the other service members with whom they're working.
"I learned how to work well with other services. Teamwork with the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy is very important." said Chief Fire Controlman (SW) Michael Hunter, currently assigned to USS Mahan (DDG 72).
Hunter volunteered for IA duty and served in Bagram, Afghanistan, October 2005-May 2006 at Information Work Space, Global Command and Control Army, Visual Tele Communications, Audio and Visual.
"I maintained and set up accounts for commands and individuals to hold conferences using the classified network from anywhere in the world," said Hunter. "I also maintained the audio and visual equipment for the bridge inside the joint operations center to keep Solider, Sailors, Airman, Marines and Joint Forces abreast of the war fighting situation in Afghanistan and Iraq."
While working with other services and representatives from the coalition, Hunter realized the value of his contributions to the larger team which was committed to a common goal.
"The task cannot be accomplished if one person does not feel that what they are doing is important." Hunter explained. "My job was important because I was part of a team to accomplish the goal at hand, defeating terrorism."
While deployed as an IA to Afghanistan, Hunter said he learned many important lessons he now shares with his junior Sailors and those considering an IA assignment.
"Make sure you go with an open mind and remember that other services perform jobs differently" said Hunter.
"Also, remember that the Navy trains to adapt to any situation at a moment's notice."
Staying flexible and adapting to new missions is just what Hunter and his shipmates on Mahan have done in during their current deployment in support of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151. This multinational task force is currently conducting counterpiracy operations to detect and deter piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Red Sea. It was established to create a maritime lawful order and develop security in the maritime environment.
As part of CTF 151, Hunter serves as the leading chief petty officer for one of the divisions in the USS Mahan Weapons Department. Although the counterpiracy mission is much different that what he did as an IA, Hunter said he applies some of the lessons learned during his tour in Afghanistan to Mahan's current mission.
"I use teamwork to accomplish any task no matter how important or unimportant one may find it to be."
Piracy is considered an international problem that requires an international solution. Hunter believes that whether it's fighting terrorism in Afghanistan or pirates in the Gulf of Aden, coalition partners can - and will be - successful.
"If we unite for any cause as one military, then we can accomplish any task, goal or obstacle that is in front of us."
For more news from Combined Task Force 151, visit www.navy.mil/local/CTF-151/.