GULF OF TADJOURA, Djibouti – U.S. sailors from the Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MAREXSECRON) Two recently escorted the USS Carney (DDG-64) into the Gulf of Tadjoura, Djibouti.
The escort was conducted during the hottest part of the day, temperatures reached over 100 degrees Fahrenheit from the direct sun rays as well as those reflecting back up off the water. Still, sailors donned body armor and set off into the stale salty humid air and choppy waters of the gulf.
“We took a two-boat element of 800-series Sea Arks out three miles to pick up the customer,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory Barkley.
The squadron’s mission is to provide highly mobile, deployable security units and perform high-value-asset security missions, in a wide range of hostile conditions. Homeported at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia, arrived in Djibouti to contribute to the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa’s mission to strengthen defense capability on the continent.
Originally from Tyler Town, Mississippi, he was the acting patrol lead for the escort.
“We set up a moving defense around the Carney,” he said.
The Carney is the 14th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy and is capable of providing multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities.
The Sea Arcs stayed near the Carney throughout the escort as a deterrent for any possible waterborne threats to the ship. Possible threats include small boats, deep draft boats, subsurface vessels, swimmers and floating mines.
The squadron has the ability to man fixed posts on land, operate small boats at sea, and embark ships, aircraft and various maritime assets to provide expert point defense to high value military assets.
“We create 12,000 yards of protection around any ship we escort,” said Barkley. “The inner 500 yards is the reaction zone and the outer 700 yards is the intercept zone.”
U.S. Navy Engineman Fireman Peter Choi, originally from Chicago, Illinois, provided security during the escort by manning a .50 caliber machine gun on one of the Sea Arks.
“We went out three miles, took the starboard side and protected them as we came into the gulf,” said Choi. “We didn’t encounter any problems out there. By maintaining a static security around the asset, we made sure the escort was a safe one.”
Because of their vigilance the mission was a success, without any incidents.