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NSW Forces Receive Presidential Unit Citation (Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 14:44:41 -0500)

By Journalist 3rd Class Christopher Menzie, Naval Special Warfare Public Affairs

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Dr. Donald C. Winter presented one of the nation's highest military awards to a Naval Special Warfare task group and its subordinate tactical and support elements May 10 during a ceremony at Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Command.

SECNAV praised the Sailors' bravery and dedication as he presented the Presidential Unit Citation to NSW Task Group-Central, NSW Squadron 3, and NSW Unit 3 for their actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"I hope people get a sense of the significance of what these men have done, and the tremendous contribution that it has provided to this nation and the free world," Winter said. "This is a time when we need people to come forward to do the most difficult tasks efficiently and effectively."

The Presidential Unit Citation was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt Feb. 6, 1942, and is awarded to U.S. military and allied units for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy. The unit must have accomplished its mission under such extremely difficult
and hazardous conditions to set it apart from and above other units participating in the same campaign. The award requires the same degree of heroism as that which would be needed for an individual to receive the Navy Cross.

NSW Task Group-Central and the subordinate elements participated in the largest NSW operation in history. Members of the unit and squadron seized oil terminals in the Northern Persian Gulf, and Task Group-Central coordinated the assault around the Al Faw pipeline. Their actions prevented ecological disaster by securing several oil-related targets that had been rigged with explosives.

"Going into an uncharted territory, all the men knew the significance of the event and how catastrophic it could have been," said Senior Chief Operations Specialist (SEAL) Richard Ledford, an operations chief during the Al Faw mission.

While SEALs completed their missions on land with tactical precision, Special Boat teams traveled through the Khawr Abd Allah estuary, infiltrating the Iraqi port city of Umm Qasr. Despite constant sniper attacks, the boat teams held their position until the risk of danger
from floating mines and land-based forces was eliminated.

"It was a tremendous opportunity to be in that situation," said Lt. Cmdr. Van Wennen, the assault force commander tasked with securing Mina Al Bakr (one of the two major offshore terminals). "Many men within the Naval Special Warfare community could have done what I did. I was just lucky enough to be there at the time."

For more information on Naval Special Warfare visit the Web site www.seal.navy.mil .

For more news from around the fleet, visit www.navy.mil .

Naval Special Warfare Group 4 Holds Historic Conference
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 21:59:22-0500
By Naval Special Warfare Group 4 Public Affairs

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. (NNS) -- Naval Special Warfare Group 4 (NSWG 4) hosted more than 50 leaders of U.S. Special Operations Command's (USSOCOM) premier, special boat community for its 2006 Commander's Conference in September.

The conference attendees included NSWG 4 Commodore, Capt. Evin Thompson, all Special Boat Team commanding officers, more than half of the Special Warfare Combatant-craft crewman (SWCC) master chief petty officers, and leaders from all departments in the community.

It was the first time since SWCC became a closed loop community that so many of its senior enlisted leaders and officers met in one room. It was an excellent opportunity to shape the future for Naval Special Warfare's surface component and the warriors that serve it.

"I think it is important to get everybody's perspective," said NSWG 4 Command Master Chief (CMC), Master Chief Scott Harris. "We all sit in different seats. The training master chiefs, operations master chiefs, guys taking detachments out, other CMCs, we all have ideas from where we sit."

NSWG 4's three boat teams, Special Boat Team 12 (Coronado, Calif.), Special Boat Team 20 (Norfolk, Va.), and Special Boat Team 22 (Stennis, Miss.), are spread out on three coasts, making this kind of meeting a logistical challenge. While video teleconferencing (VTC) is regularly used to bring the teams together, face-to-face discussion is preferred.

"To look an individual in the eye, to have uninterrupted conversations unconstrained by technology, and most important to have sidebar conversations in and around the general discussions can never be replicated in a VTC environment," Thompson said.

What happens outside the conference room can be just as important as what happens in it.

"Being in one location at the same time is great, and not just for what happens during the conference. During runs, [physical training] and after-hours, you have time for discussions and informal meetings," said Harris. "You don't have time for that during a VTC."

Topics ranging from SWCC manning and training, to boat team operational capabilities during the global war on terrorism, were discussed frankly and without hesitation.

"Leadership and knowledge are not intuitive skills one is born with. They come as one experiences the success and failures of others by capturing and learning each time you hear or see something. Only by having open dialogue do we grow as professionals and become even better warriors so that we can uphold our commitment of defending the constitution," said Thompson.

The September conference was the first, but will not be the last for the SWCC leadership. The next conference is scheduled for Spring 2007.

For related news, visit the Naval Special Warfare Group 4 Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/nswg4/ .
 

 


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