U.S. Army War College students go out to sea with Boston based cutter

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Rich Messer, U.S Army War College class of 2015 student, talks with crew members from the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca during their transit down the East River March 21, 2015. Messer participated in a ride along with the crew of the Seneca to experience life out to sea with on a Medium Endurance cutter. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sabrina Laberdesque)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Rich Messer, U.S Army War College class of 2015 student, talks with crew members from the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca during their transit down the East River March 21, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sabrina Laberdesque)

NEW YORK – U.S. Army War College students accompanied the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca crew on a transit through the East River, Mar 21, 2015 as part of a unique educational and training opportunity.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steven Basilici, and Coast Guard Cmdr. Bill Dwyer, students from the U.S. Army War College class of 2015 experienced life out to sea with the crew of the cutter Seneca off the Coast of New York City.

The U.S. Army War College is a United States Army institution in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The program provides graduate level instruction to senior military officers and civilians to prepare the students for senior leadership assignments and responsibilities. Each year, a board of admissions considers a number of senior military officers from all five branches to attend the course. The Army War College is a split-functional institution and while a great deal of emphasis is placed on research, students are also instructed in leadership, strategy, and joint-service/international operations. Upon completion of the course, the college grants its graduates a master’s degree in Strategic Studies.

“As the oldest continuous seagoing service, the Coast Guard has a unique and impressive history and I really wanted to share that experience with my classmates in our sister services,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. Bill Dwyer, U.S Army War College class of 2015 student. “The Seneca crew impeccably showcased that our missions may be different but there is a string of similarities that flow through all of them and that is what sets us apart from the other four branches.”

During the patrol, the cutter Seneca conducted helicopter training at sea with an MH-60 Jayhawk Helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod. The training included day and night landings, vertical replenishment, and a “hot refuel”.

“When I saw how much responsibility Cmdr. Brennell, the commanding officer had on his shoulders, the different mission sets in which he had authority to operate and the task to execute, I was truly impressed,” said Lt. Col. Steven Basilici, U.S Army War College class of 2015 student. “Everyone from the commanding officer to the most junior member was operational the entire time. The level of competence necessary to execute the cutter’s missions is incredibly impressive to see and was a revelation to me not just on the cutter Seneca but the Coast Guard as a whole.”

The Coast Guard serves as a critical link between the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense in the joint link of maritime Homeland Defense, Civil Support and maritime Homeland Security missions.

“When those two missions are drawn together and the Department of Defense’s resources are launched in a Homeland Defense or Civil Support role, the Coast Guard’s leadership experience and strong rapport with both military and civilian agencies naturally allow it to play a critical bridging leadership role,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Rich Messer, U.S Army War College class of 2015 student. “At the strategic level, it is important for our leaders to know that the Coast Guard is an integral part in the DOD and is critical to the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to secure the nations maritime borders and advance America’s strategic national interests.”

The three U.S. Army War College students are scheduled to graduate June 5, 2015, from the War College with their fellow classmates before returning to active duty and reporting to their operational units.

“This entire experience has really opened my eyes professionally about the Coast Guard and how they operate as an organization,” said Basilici. “When I return to the special operations field with the knowledge of the Coast Guard’s professional, leadership and operational capabilities, I most certainly plan to reach out to do joint military operations in the future.”

The 270 ft. Medium Endurance Cutter Seneca is homeported in Boston and has a crew complement of 100: 14 officers and 86 enlisted. The Seneca was commissioned into Coast Guard service on August 4, 1986.

To learn more about the U.S. Army War College, please visit http://www.carlisle.army.mil/

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