A ‘Royal’ relationship

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft and First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff of the U.K. Royal Navy Sir Adm. George Zambellas discuss the future relationship between the U.S. Coast Guard and U.K. Royal Navy. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft and First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff of the U.K. Royal Navy Adm. Sir George Zambellas discuss the future relationship between the U.S. Coast Guard and U.K. Royal Navy. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Written by Chief Warrant Officer Chad Saylor

The U.K. Royal Navy will soon have some extra hands on deck.

Beginning in October, several enlisted Coast Guard men and women will join their seagoing counterparts from the U.K. to support the manpower needs of its Type 23 frigates.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul F. Zukunft and First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff of the U.K. Royal Navy Adm. Sir George Zambellas signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday, which aims to strengthen the maritime partnership between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Coast Guard personnel are scheduled to support the Royal Navy from 2014 to 2019 for 36-month accompanied tours. The volunteer personnel, who come from Coast Guard afloat and ashore commands, were chosen for their experience and their ability to meet the existing engineering needs of the navy.

To ensure the Coast Guard members are successful, the navy will develop a tailored training and indoctrination program to bring the members up to speed on frigate platforms, ship systems and organizational procedures.

A benefit to Coast Guard personnel aboard the frigates is the opportunity to maintain their skill proficiency while working side-by-side with Royal Navy crew members. The first Coast Guard men and women scheduled to deploy with the frigates will be machinery technicians and electrician’s mates.

Adm. Paul Zukunft and Adm. George Zambellas sign the letter of intent that outlines the joint-service partnership.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Adm. Paul Zukunft and Adm. George Zambellas sign the letter of intent that outlines the joint-service partnership. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

The U.K. Navy often works with the Coast Guard through Joint Interagency Task Force South missions and other counter-drug operations in the region and routinely hosts Coast Guard law enforcement detachments aboard its ships.

On Jan. 22, the U.S. Coast Guard launched a helicopter from the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary fast-fleet tanker Wave Knight to intercept suspected drug smugglers south of the Dominican Republic. The RFA Wave Knight, with a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Team aboard, arrived on scene and detained the four suspected smugglers and recovered 45 bales of cocaine from the water.

The interdiction marked the first time an armed U.S. Coast Guard helicopter embarked on a foreign-flagged military vessel in support of counter-drug operations.

“The men and women of the Royal Navy have been, for a long time, a strong maritime partner,” said Zukunft. “Our continued partnership is critical to achieve our collective regional objectives.”

“The professional maritime partnership between the USA and the U.K. is one without equal, and this latest initiative strengthens its authority further still,” said Zambellas. “The Royal Navy already enjoys a highly successful operational collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard as we fight the war on drugs together. But this agreement takes our partnership to the next level – and beyond – and I warmly welcome that.”

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