ROTA, Spain — In preparation for Exercise Phoenix Express 2010, North African Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) teams are training with Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Company, Europe (FASTEUR) April 19 to May 7 at Naval Station Rota, Spain.
Moroccan and Senegalese MIO teams are training primarily on tactics, techniques, and procedures associated with maritime interdiction operations.
The goals of the exercise are to increase participating countries knowledge base and experience level with FAST unit core capabilities and highlight common safety and security concerns in the maritime environment such as illegal immigration, criminal activity, narcotics trafficking, and weapons trafficking.
Countering these issues require skills such as MIO, air operations and boat operations.
"Multilateral Exercises like Phoenix Express are an important part of the Naval Forces Africa Maritime Supporting Plans and the International Military Partnering Lines of Operations" said Navy Capt. Martin Beck, Commander, Naval Expeditionary Task Force Europe and Africa, Commander Task Force 68 (CTF 68/368). "The FAST Marines working with our Spanish host to help train and prepare our North African partners for maritime security operations are key in our combined readiness to address the security challenges we face at sea."
The MIO training has included live-fire, Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques, Close Quarters Battle, and Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
Training and combat facilities at NAVSTA Rota enable training exercises, such as Phoenix Express, to promote all countries' maritime strategies, said Capt. Bill Mosk, NAVSTA commanding officer.
"Rota plays a crucial role in supporting our nation's Maritime Strategy by providing the facilities and opportunities for evolutions such as this," said Mosk. "We want to ensure we are providing exceptional support to our warfighters."
FAST Company Europe is a tenant command of Commander, Naval Expeditionary Task Force Europe and Africa (CTF 68). The task force is responsible for exercising tactical control and functional component command over assigned forces for the direction, control and approval of movements, maneuvers and operations necessary to accomplish Commander, 6th Fleet assigned missions and tasks.
Naval Station Rota, Spain is strategically located near the Strait of Gibraltar and at the halfway point between the United States and Southwest Asia. Because of this ideal location, the base is able to provide invaluable support to both U.S. Sixth Fleet units in the Mediterranean and to U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command units transiting into or through the theater.
The base and its tenant commands are located within the boundaries of the 6,100 acre Spanish 'Base Naval de Rota.' Under the guidance of the Agreement for Defense Cooperation, the U.S. and Spanish navies work together and share many facilities. The U.S. Navy has the responsibility for maintaining the station's infrastructure, including a 670-acre airfield, three active piers, 426 facilities and 801 family housing units.