U.S. Coast Guardsmen and Iraqi Marines conduct a visit, board, search and seizure training operation onboard the Al
Basrah Oil Terminal in the Persian Gulf. Coalition forces have been training Iraqi personnel in force protection and search-and-seizure operations in an effort to turn over security of the two oil terminals in the area to Iraq.
While the service guards the waters around the oil
platforms, Iraqis guard the platforms themselves. The
Coast Guard continues to train them so that they eventually can take over all of the security responsibilities
for the platforms, Heugel said.
The Coast Guard is “working side by side with the
Iraqi security forces to train and equip them to a standard where they will be able to assume an increasing
share of the mission,” Allen said.
The service is part of the larger coalition force in the
region and works closely with the Navy and the five
Cyclone-class patrol boats it has deployed there.
Cmdr. Stephen Coughlin, commander of the Navy’s
Patrol Coastal Class Squadron, said a challenge in
training the Iraqis is the higher learning curve because
the U.S. equipment and assets are more advanced than
what they are used to working with.
Coughlin added that there is no timeline for the
Navy to reduce its presence in the area.
“We will be there for an indefinite period of time,”
There are approximately 260 Coast Guard personnel
who volunteered specifically for duty in Iraq, a force that
looks to remain stable for the foreseeable future, according to Adm. Gary Blore, the service’s assistant commandant for acquisition and chief acquisition officer.
Heugel said that despite the threats and dangers the
mission poses, there have been no problems having a
fully staffed force. Service members who sign up to go
to Iraq are given an eight-week training course in
One of the biggest challenges for the Coast Guard
has been getting its service members who are serving
oil platform protection duty out of traditional lifesaving mode.
“When you are standing picket duty over there and
someone calls for help, you can’t leave your sector.
That’s your job,” Heugel said. ■