CORNWALL, United Kingdom (NNS) -- More than 900 U.S. and U.K. military members, their families and members of the Cornwall community attended a ceremony April 18 at the Eden Project in Cornwall, England, to mark the operational transfer of Joint Maritime Facility (JMF) St. Mawgan, United Kingdom, to its headquarters in Dam Neck, Va.
Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall Lady Mary Holborow, Commander Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia (EURAFSWA) Rear Adm. David J. Mercer, and Royal Air Force (RAF) St. Mawgan Air Marshall G. 'Black' Robertson were present during the observance, marking the remoting of JMF St. Mawgan operations. This is the U.S. Navy's first step toward the disestablishment of the installation, which is planned to take place later this year.
"The Cornwall community has a wonderful relationship and high regard for the military forces working at JMF St. Mawgan," said Doris Ansari, chairman of Cornwall County Council. "I've never known people who wanted to be involved so much."
Advanced technology and cost-efficiency measures for both the U.S. Navy and U.K. Ministry of Defense have prompted the relocation of JMF's Integrated Undersea Surveillance Systems (IUSS) operations to work remotely from the Naval Ocean Processing Facility in Dam Neck. This force structure change will save the U.K. nearly 4 million pounds a year and the U.S. almost $ 9 million annually in support and operations costs.
Officials from JMF said both U.S. and U.K. navies have carefully coordinated every aspect of the transition. Though this relocation reduces the U.S. footprint, it will not interfere with the command's overall surveillance mission.
"The force structure change will increase our capabilities to accomplish our mission and decrease the size of our footprint as well," said Mercer. "The British have been wonderful hosts, now it's time for us to step up and host their personnel. This is a wonderful opportunity to continue our relationship with the Royal Navy and Air Force."
Approximately 300 U.S. Navy, 45 Royal Navy and Royal Air Force active duty personnel and 100 civilian employees and their families have transitioned. The majority of U.S. and U.K. active duty military members have transferred to Dam Neck while civilian employees are relocating to other jobs in the U.S. and the U.K.
"The British service members are very excited to have the opportunity to live in the U.S." said JMF's Commanding Officer Capt. John Jones.
JMF St. Mawgan was established at Royal Air Force Station, St. Mawgan, in 1995 as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding between the United States, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland governments in 1990. The command's role has been to provide anti-submarine warfare and ocean borne acoustic information to tactical platforms and shore-based facilities, providing a link between U.S. and U.K. maritime forces and their headquarters. With its unique combination of professionals from a broad spectrum of countries and disciplines, JMF accomplishes a wide variety of mission oriented goals.
According to JMF's Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Eric Hansen there is a strong bond between the military community at JMF and the Cornwall community. The choice of the Eden Project was an example of the ties between the military and local community. A statement released by the Eden Project stated they, "are proud to support this historic event that recognises the links and friendships made between the U.S. Navy and Cornwall."
Members from both the U.S. and U.K. services who will remain at JMF are currently making arrangements for JMF's final community relations activity, the annual Royal Cornwall Show in June.
The Joint Maritime Facility, St. Mawgan, is one of seven Navy installations under Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia (EURAFSWA), and the last remaining U.S. installation in the U.K.
For more news from Commander, Navy Region Europe , visit www.navy.mil/local/cnre/.