Coast Guard lends expertise to Navy Coastal Riverine Force at RIMPAC

Commander 3rd Fleet
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – Members of the U.S. Coast Guard, assigned to the Navy’s Coastal Riverine Force (CRF) are participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014 Exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

The Coast Guard and Navy have a long history of cooperation within the CRF community. The joint structure of these units provides the Navy with operators who are skilled in small boat operations and port security missions. The Coast Guard also brings critical law enforcement authorities not held by Department of Defense components.

U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Tony Tredo, Charlie Company Platoon Leader, 1st Platoon, U.S. Navy Coastal Riverine Squadron (CORIVRON) 11 observes U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremiah Rees, conduct small boat training during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and six submarines, about 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 to August 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Steven Youde/Released)

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Tony Tredo, Charlie Company Platoon Leader, 1st Platoon, U.S. Navy Coastal Riverine Squadron (CORIVRON) 11 observes U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremiah Rees, conduct small boat training during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Steven Youde

“We may be a Navy command but the Coast Guard is an integral part of our structure,” said Capt. Charles Lund, Coastal Riverine Squadron Eleven (CORIVRON 11) commanding officer. “The only difference between us is the name on our uniform.”

CORIVRON 11, a reserve unit based out of Seal Beach, Calif., is one of three squadrons under Coastal Riverine Group One (CORIVGRU 1). Coastal Riverine forces conduct port and harbor security, high-value unit security and escort, surveillance and reconnaissance, insertion and extraction of small units, and command and control for supporting and assigned units.

In addition to afloat security, CRF units operate ashore in support of ground operations, protection of critical maritime infrastructure and theater security cooperation missions.

Coast Guard members are not only serving within these units, some of them also hold key leadership positions such as company commander and platoon leader, as well as leadership positions within the communications, intelligence, logistics and weapons departments.

“When you look at who the Coast Guard sends to the Coastal Riverine Group, you’re seeing the leaders, the top five percent,” Lund said. “And when you have that quality and that kind of skill set, I am going to put them in the key leadership positions.”

Cmdr. Matthew Wadleigh, a Coast Guard reservist, currently serves in one of these key leadership positions. He is the Charlie Company commander, one of three companies within CORIVRON 11.

“This is a great opportunity for me. This is a command billet for the Navy with all the inherent leadership, operational and management responsibilities. On the Coast Guard side, it is much like commanding a Port Security Unit,” Wadleigh said. “While I benefit professionally from this assignment, I will be well placed to serve as an advocate for the Coast Guard’s maritime security response operations doctrine which CRF can benefit from in the CONUS [stateside] port operating environment.”

U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Matthew Wadleigh, right, Charlie Company Commander, U.S. Navy Coastal Riverine Squadron (CORIVRON) 11 and Navy Cmdr. Frank Pietrusiewucz, Bravo Company Commander conduct a mission brief during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. Wadleigh is one of seven Coast Guard members serving in CORIVRON 11. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and six submarines, about 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 to August 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Steven Youde/ Released)

U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Matthew Wadleigh, right, Charlie Company Commander, U.S. Navy Coastal Riverine Squadron (CORIVRON) 11 and Navy Cmdr. Frank Pietrusiewucz, Bravo Company Commander conduct a mission brief during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Steven Youde

A Coastal Riverine Company (CRC) is a deployable, self-sustaining unit that can operate independently or in coordination with other forces. Each company has two platoons with personnel assigned to boat operations, a security team capable of conducting visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) missions, and an intelligence surveillance recon (ISR) team capable of operating unmanned vehicles and squadron-level communications equipment. Each company is equipped with four patrol boats and four harbor security boats.

At this year’s RIMPAC exercise, CORIVRON 11 has been tasked with providing force protection for U.S. and coalition vessels throughout various real-world and simulated scenarios. From escorting high-value units, which may be targets to enemy forces, to enforcing security zones and assisting with humanitarian aid during a simulated natural disaster, the CORIVRON has clearly demonstrated its versatility and effectiveness.

Providing coordinated, effective humanitarian aid and disaster response has played a much more significant role in this year’s RIMPAC exercise than ever before. CORIVRON 11 played a key role by assisting with evacuations and ensuring the security and delivery of the medical and humanitarian supplies, which are so critical in the aftermath of a disaster.

“Humanitarian aid is really something the Coast Guard is very good at, and as a Navy asset, we are learning from our Coast Guar brothers and sisters who are embedded in this unit,” Lund said.

The presence of Coast Guard members within the Coastal Riverine Force not only enhances the Navy’s effectiveness, but also provides the Coast Guard with valuable expeditionary experience.“As Coast Guard members, we also gain a lot from being a part of this type of unit. The Navy’s expeditionary units are experts in this field. They are highly experienced in operating in remote locations and establishing the command and control systems required to execute both security and humanitarian missions. The lessons and skills we learn from the Navy will help us be more effective in our response operations,” said Lt. Cmdr. Paul Green, CORIVRON 11 communications and information systems department head.

Chief Petty Officer Tony Tredo, Platoon Leader, 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, also brings years of Coast Guard small boat and port security experience to the CRF. As the lead chief petty officer and one of the primary trainers at CORIVRON 11, he is responsible for ensuring 12 boat crews and more than 60 personnel are fully capable and ready to respond to any mission.

“Having deployed with a PSU [Port Security Unit] and working with the Navy in Guantanamo Bay, I came to CORIVRON with a skillset in small boat operations, specifically INCONUS (stateside) operations,” Tredo said. “The unit recognized this and put me into a leadership position where I can leverage my Coast Guard expertise.”

“This has been a great experience. It’s been fun to work with so many new people who are fresh. We get to train them from scratch,” he said. “We get all different specialties here in the small boat community. They get to build a new skill set then take it back to the fleet.”

Twenty-two nations, 49 ships, six submarines, about 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

Coast Guard Cutter Waesche, Marine Safety and Security Teams (MSST) from San Diego and Honolulu, and support personnel from Coast Guard Pacific Area in Alameda, Calif., are also participating in this year’s exercise.

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