News Archive 2009
11 Dec 09
presents £225 cheque to The Royal British Legion
On Friday 11th December the
Chief of Staff of MCC Northwood, Rear Admiral Hank Ort presented a
cheque for £225 to the Royal British Legion (RBL) . The money was
collected earlier in November by Lt Cdr Martin Shakespeare. The Royal
British Legion is the major voice for service and ex service people
throughout the year. Their aim is to improve the welfare and support
provided for veterans and their dependants of all ages.
The issues covered include mental and physical health, housing and
homelessness, unemployment, community and adult care, disability, skills
development and debt. Mr Jeff Duley accepted the cheque on behalf of the
RBL along with two veterans. Mr. Bernard Roberts, a World War II veteran
and Warrant Officer Mark Chapman, who served in Iraq last year. These
two veterans demonstrate the wide range of ages and conflicts
represented by veterans nowadays.
was very grateful to receive the money.
09 Dec 09
Pride of Britain inspires eight year old boy
A local youngster has managed to gather 115 shoeboxes of food and treats
for soldiers in Afghanistan after being inspired by The Pride of Britain
Tom Hedger, who is eight years old, became "quite emotional" when it
came to scenes featuring soldiers from Afghanistan. He was so moved that
he wanted to help the soldiers in Afghanistan personally.
He wrote to family and friends appealing for filled shoeboxes and
received an overwhelming response of 115 shoeboxes. The boxes were
collected by the local "Support our Soldiers coordinator"
On Tuesday 24 October, Helen Hale, whose daughter attends St Paul's
Primary and Cdr Jason Geiger, who works at NATO Headquarters in
Northwood, visited the school. Cdr Geiger shared personal experiences of
what Tom's efforts would mean to the troops in Afghanistan. The whole
school turned out for the event, and the youngsters were keen to ask
23 Nov 09
Certificates for Exceptional
On the 23rd of November the 2009 there was a
ceremony at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London
where the IMO presented
Certificates for Exceptional Services Rendered to
Shipping and Mankind to the Commanding
Officers, Officers, Petty Officers and Crews of navy ships (from EU and
NATO member countries and several other individual countries from
various regions), which have participated in the international efforts
to repress piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.
IMO's main task has been to develop and maintain a comprehensive
regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety,
environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime
security and the efficiency of shipping. Among them was the Commanding
Officer of TCG Gediz CDR Özyurt who received a certificate from the
Secretary-General Mitropoulos of the IMO by thanking him "for his
dedication, his courage, his commitment and for the sacrifices he
makes". The TCG Gediz has been assigned to Nato’s Operation Ocean Shield
until November this year.
11 Nov 09
Remembrance Day - Why do we wear
At 11 o’clock on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell
silent after more than four years continuous warfare.
As a result 11 November has become a special day of remembrance for all
the men and women who were killed during the two World Wars and in wars
and conflicts since 1945.
Remembrance Day has also become known as Poppy Day as it is traditional
to wear a red poppy. The poppies are sold by the Royal British Legion, a
charity dedicated to helping war veterans.
But why do we wear a red poppy?
Flanders is the name given to the western part of Belgium. Flanders saw
some of the most concentrated and bloodiest fighting of the First World
War, with complete devastation of buildings and roads. Most of natural
life, such as birds, insects, trees, hedgerows simply disappeared. Where
once there were homes and farms only a sea of mud remained. As soldiers
continued to fight the area became a mass grave for the war dead.
Only one other living thing survived - the red poppy flowering each year
with the coming of the warm weather, brought life, hope, colour and
reassurance to those still fighting.
John McCrae, a doctor serving with the Canadian Armed Forces was so
deeply moved by what he saw, that in 1915, he scribbled down the poem
'In Flanders Fields' in his pocket book.
In 1918, Moira Michael, an American, wrote a poem in reply 'We shall
keep the faith'. In which she promised to wear a poppy 'in honour of our
This began the tradition of wearing a poppy in remembrance.
The first actual Poppy Day was held in Britain on November 11th 1921 and
was a national success raising £106,000. Since then during November we
keep the memory alive by wearing a poppy to commemorate those who
sacrificed their lives during war.
Over the last few weeks Lt Cdr Martin Shakespeare Royal Navy has been
selling Poppy Pin Badges in the HQ. Smaller than the usual poppy that is
sold, they fit neatly on every uniform and on a lanyard. Martin has sold
over 150 pins within the HQ and raised an impressive £225. The money
will be presented to the Royal British Legion for their charity.
28 Oct 09
Sea Cadets Trafalgar Day Parade, Chesham
On Sunday 18th October 2009 Chiltern Sea Cadet Unit based in Chesham,
Buckinghamshire hosted the Oxford & Buckinghamshire District Trafalgar
Day Parade. The eight Sea cadet units all mustered in the Elgiva Theatre
car park at 1030 and fell in to their squads. There was a guard of 36
with a Colour Party parading the Chiltern Unit Colour.
The Inspecting Officer was Capt Ian Turner Royal Navy OBE from the
Planning Division at MCC Northwood. He was met by the Chiltern
Commanding Officer CPO (SCC) Keith Jones who works at MCC Northwood as
the NATO MT Coordinator. Also attending were local MP Cheryl Gillan and
Chesham Town Mayor Councillor Justine Fulford.
After inspecting the Guard and Squads they made their way to St Mary's
Church in Chesham for a service. Afterwards they all returned to
Chiltern Sea Cadet Unit for refreshments. Captain Turner gave a short
speech to all assembled on the importance the Sea cadets have in local
05 Oct 09
EXERCISE LOYAL MIDAS 2009 (LM09)
The purpose of Exercise LOYAL MIDAS 2009 was to test the command,
control, and support functions of the maritime and expeditionary forces
of the NATO Response Force (NRF). It was a live exercise designed to
certify the Maritime Forces in NATO Response Force (NRF) 14, under the
command of Italian Maritime Forces. Loyal Midas 09 was conducted between
21 SEP 09 and 03 OCT 09.
LOYAL MIDAS was intended to present a realistic and challenging scenario
to provide the maximum training benefit for the forces involved.
Activities in the exercise included multi-ship manoeuvres (responding to
incidents at sea), amphibious landings (incidents on ground) and support
operations ashore (peace enforcement and relief operations). The NRF was
created to provide the Alliance with an effective tool to face the new
security threats of the 21st Century. NRF is rapidly deployable,
multinational and joint force with modern equipment. The NRF is able to
support the full range of Alliance missions whenever and wherever
needed, as tasked by the North Atlantic Council.
The forces that made up Loyal Midas 2009 were assets from Germany (FGS),
Spain (ESPS), USA (USS), France (FS), Greece (HS), Italia (ITS),
Portugal (NRP) and Turkey (TCG), under the command of Commander Task
Force (CTF 456).
The Loyal Midas exercise main objectives were as follows:
• Train and test the maritime operational NATO forces assigned to NRF 14
under the responsibility of Italy.
• Prepare the Commander, Italian Maritime Forces, for command of NRF 14
maritime forces starting January 1, 2010.
The Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) organization
participated in the NATO exercise LOYAL MIDAS 09 from 21 SEP 09 to 03
OCT 09 to assist in managing the WHITE picture (Merchant Shipping
traffic) with respect to the Recognized Maritime Picture (RMP), and to
assist the Maritime Interdictions Operation (MIO) Commander with vessel
boardings. The make-up of personnel directly involved in the various
NCAGS activities were reservists and active duty personnel from the
United States, Italy, United Kingdom, Norway, Poland, France and
Netherlands. All augmentees successfully demonstrated NCAGS expertise in
the use of NAMESIS (Naval and Merchant Ships Information System) in
order to manage and share shipping information to the multi-national
NATO Response Forces and to help coordinate boarding of various Merchant
shipping passing through the exercise Joint Operation Area (JOA). Loyal
Midas 09 was hosted by France and the Striking and Support Forces NATO
(SFN), located in Naples (Italy) conducted the exercise.
The NCAGS personnel were located at the various locations during Loyal
Midas 09: NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) Northwood, Shipping Cooperation
Point (SCP) Toulon, NCAGS Staff Officer (SO) on board ITS ETNA and one
NCAGS Liaison Officer (LO) embarked on NRP Alvarez Cabral. NCAGS was one
small element of the overall Loyal Midas 09 exercise.
The NRF principle is based on rotating commitment of forces. The NATO
member countries commit land, air, naval or special forces units to the
NATO Response Force for six-month periods. One of the NRF’s key features
was that it combined land, air, sea and special forces into one package.
NCAGSORG met all its training objectives during the exercise. Combined
they were able to contact over 75 different merchant vessels passing
through the exercise operating area off the coastline of France and then
initiate and perform live shipboard boarding(s) under control of the
30 Sep 09
8th SHADE Meetings sees largest International participation so far
A meeting of the SHADE Group met in Bahrain on 29 Sept 2009 to discuss
practical aspects of counter-piracy off the coast of Somalia. SHADE was
established in December 2008 as a means of sharing ‘best practice’,
conduct informal discussions and deconflict the activities of those
nations and organisations involved in military counter-piracy operations
in the region. Initially, SHADE participation involved the Combined
Maritime Forces based in Bahrain, the European Naval Force EU NAVFOR and
NATO but it grew quickly to include many regional nations and other
navies operating under independent mandates, such as China, India, Japan
SHADE is a voluntary international military group that meets on a
monthly basis in Bahrain. In all, 26 nations were present, along with 3
Coalitions and representatives from industry. This meeting welcomed
Ukraine as the newest participant.
The latest meeting achieved broad consensus on a set of terms of
reference, agreed to explore opportunities to coordinate logistics and
resources, commissioned further work on improving communications with
merchant shipping and campaign effectiveness.
SHADE achievements over the last 9 months include:
o Establishment of an Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor
(IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden
(which was endorsed by IMO in July 2009)
o Development of the IRTC Coordination Guide
o Agreement on the utility of a common geographical reference system
o Support for the innovative military communications system MERCURY
which allows all SHADE
participants to coordinate together in real time
o Emergence of coordinated focused operations off the coast of Somalia
o Improving coordination with industry
o Command opportunities and assets being shared across SHADE
participants – e.g. Singaporean
and Turkish commanders operating from US warships
24 Sep 09
COM MCC Northwood visits SNMG2
During a short visit to CTF 508, Adm Sir Trevor Soar KCB OBE met Cdre
Steve Chick, Commander of CTF 508, onboard the flagship HMS Cornwall.
CTF 508 is comprised of the 5 ships of Standing Naval Maritime Group 2,
deployed on NATO’s counter piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield.
Ocean Shield is now in its second month and is focusing on:
- Enhanced disruption of piracy
- Closer integration with other international forces in the area
- Improved advice to the maritime community (merchant shipping)
- Regional capacity building initiatives (working with Somali officials
23 Sep 09
Our friends from Japan pay a flying visit to MCC Northwood
MCC Northwood hosts a visit by a group of Japanese
journalists. The journalists are in Northwood to see the work being done
by NATO in counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa. The
visit is part of a programme sponsored by the US Mission to NATO. They
are receiving briefings from the Public Affairs Office, NATO Shipping
Centre and Operations on counter piracy work, they are also looking at
the wider remit of MCC Northwood and briefings on SNMG1 and SNMCMG1.
17 Sep 09
Indian journalists visit MCC Northwood
On 16th September. MCC Northwood hosted
a visit by a group of Indian
journalists. The journalists, who all specialise in defence reporting
were in Northwood to see the work being done by NATO in counter piracy
in the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa. The visit is part of a programme
sponsored by the US Mission to NATO.
As well as briefings from the Public Affairs Office, NATO Shipping
Centre and Operations on counter piracy work, they also looked at the
wider remit of MCC Northwood and had briefings on SNMG1 and SNMCMG1.
Leaving at the end of a busy day, the journalists all said that it had
provided a useful insight into NATO’s work in the Gulf of Aden.
14 Sep 09
After 12 years working in the Travel Office at MCC
Northwood, Mr. Vinny Makwana received a last farewell from the HQ. Mr.
Makwana was responsible for all travel arrangements within the HQ and
will now retire. He left London for the sunny suburbs of Leicester.
10 Sep 09
MCC Northwood holds annual BBQ
Today MCC Northwood held their annual BBQ
at Brackenhill House, Northwood. This event has been styled a welcome
for all the new joiners, but it is also a great opportunity to get
together with colleagues and families. The staff and their families were
welcomed by the new Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Ort RNLN.During the BBQ
there was a charity raffle held for the adopted charities,
The Linda Jackson Macmillan Centre for cancer and the
Watford Children's Peace Prospect. The headquarters raised £345.25
for the respected charities.
04 Sep 09
Farewell to Chief Of Staff
Today was the last working day of the Chief of Staff at
MCC Northwood. Rear Admiral Hubert Hass, (German Navy). Admiral Hass was
based at Northwood for more than 3 years and in that time, was very
involved in various NATO exercises and latterly, NATO’s counter piracy
mission Operation Allied Protector. As a final farewell to Admiral Hass
all personnel working in the HQ lined up to say goodbye.
04 Sep 09Northwood’s Deputy Commander, Vice Admiral Hans-Jochen
Witthauer was yesterday awarded the
Bundesverdienstkreuz, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of
Deputy Commander awarded German honour
The ceremony took place at the Germany Embassy in London with a
delegation of German Officers of the EU (Operation
Atalanta) and NATO MCC Northwood HQ present. The Ambassador, His
Excellency Georg Boomgaarden stated in his speech that Vice Admiral
Witthauer’s outstanding performance during his multinational
appointments as COM EUFOR and COM STANAVFORMED had contributed to
Germany's reputation in Europe.
31 Aug 09
COM SNMG1 visits JFC Lisbon
Commander SNMG1, Rear Admiral José Domingos Pereira da Cunha
(PRT N) visited Joint Force Commander Lisbon, Lieutenant General
Philippe Stoltz (FRA A) where the main topic of discussion was NATO’s
counter piracy work in the Gulf of Aden under, Operation Allied
Protector and its new counter piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield.
27 Aug 09
London and Home Counties Branch of the RAF Police Association visit
On the 25th August 2009, members of the London and Home Counties Branch
of the RAF Police Association visited Northwood HQ. During the visit the
members were greeted by Lt Cdr Martin Shakespeare, GBR Navy and then
treated to interesting briefs on Counter Piracy, NATO Shipping Centre,
Counter Intelligence in NATO and the current role of the Public Affairs
office during Ocean Shield. The members finished off enjoying a drink in
the Sgts Mess before leaving. Sgt John Morgan, who organised the visit,
said, “ I have much respect for these veterans and it was wonderful to
see them enjoying themselves. All the members expressed their thanks on
an excellent visit and it was a particular pleasure to see my ex-Warrant
Officer and his wife, Mr and Mrs Brian Flinn.” A special thank you must
go to Lt Cdr Shakespeare, Lt Cdr Mark Hornung, Sgt Simon Marshall and
Mrs Shona Lowe for their presentations and help throughout the visit.
03 Aug 09
Bilateral meeting between MCC Northwood and MCC Naples
On 30 & 31 Jul Cdre
Vasileios Kavvadias (GRC N), Deputy Chief of Staff Operations, Capt
David Heley (GBR N), Head of Operations and Capt Martin Kluver (DEU N),
Head of Planning visited the HQ for a series of meetings regarding the
current counter piracy operation "Allied Protector". The briefings were
hosted by Cdre Hans Helseth (NOR N), Deputy Chief of Staff Operations.
31 Jul 09
New NATO Secretary General to take up
On 30 July, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer returned to
NATO Headquarters to bid farewell, his tenure ending on 31 July 2009.
The new Secretary General of NATO, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, will take
up his duties on 1st August 2009.
His first day at NATO HQ will be on Monday 3rd August. Upon arrival he
will be greeted by the Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Claudio
Bisogniero, Ambassador Per Poulsen-Hansen, the Dean of the Council and
Admiral Giampaolo di Paola, Chairman of the Military Committee.
On Tuesday 4th August Mr. Rasmussen will chair his first North Atlantic
Council Meeting and at 1130 (local time) there will be a press
conference by the new Secretary General.
31 Jul 09
Former Deputy Commander presents £550 to Colne
Valley Special Sailors
Vice Admiral Pim Bedet, the former Deputy Commander of MCC Northwood,
handed over a cheque for £550 to Peter Hammond for the benefit of Colne
Valley Special Sailors. The group’s aim is to advance physical education
for people with disabilities, providing them with facilities for
recreation and leisure-time on the water, especially sailing and related
30 Jul 09
NATO says farewell
Today was the last working day of the Deputy Commander at MCC Northwood.
As a last farewell all personnel working at the HQ lined up to say
goodbye. Vice Admiral Pim Bedet Royal Netherlands Navy was the Deputy
Commander for more than 3 years and during that time he was heavily
involved in different exercises and also the NATO counter piracy
operation " Allied Protector". The new Deputy Commander is Vice Admiral
Hans-Jochen Witthauer, German Navy.
14 Jul 09On 2nd of July the visitors and locals in the picturesque
surroundings of Oxford were witness to an ancient Dutch Naval tradition,
that has been upheld for over 400 years.
Saying farewell the Dutch Way
The tradition of the Netherlands Navy, originating in the time of
Admiral Michiel Adriaanszoon de Ruyter, is to say farewell to its
departing Commander by having him disembark from the Fleet's flagship
and then be rowed ashore by the ships captains under his command. This
tradition is still very much alive and was used by the Netherlands
officers community in Northwood to say goodbye to a Vice-admiral who has
served for more than 35 years in the Dutch Navy.
The Deputy Commander at MCC Northwood, Vice-admiral Pim S. Bedet of the
Royal Netherlands Navy, will hand over his function and leave this HQ
after serving in this post for more than three years. His Netherlands
colleagues could not let the occasion pass unnoticed and organised an
adapted version of this mentioned tradition.
On this beautiful day, the Admiral was treated to an afternoon of
punting and relaxation, where finally he was taken ashore and saluted by
his fellow officers as he departed the little boat for the last time,
the evening was concluded with a dinner in formal dress uniform."
13 Jul 09ROTA, Spain —
Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), today
hosted NATO’s Secretary General, the Permanent Representatives of the
North Atlantic Council (NAC), and the Chairman and members of the
Military Committee (MC) at the bi-annual NAC-MC Sea Day held in the
Spanish port city of Rota. NATO’s Standing Maritime Group One (SNMG1)
vessels were in port to provide the platforms from which the
participants observed naval manoeuvres.
SACEUR hosts North Atlantic Council and Military Committee Sea Day in
“The sea connects us all, and forms the Trans-Atlantic bridge at the
heart of this Alliance. It is therefore a particular pleasure to host
this event, which enables the maritime element of Allied Command
Operations (ACO) to demonstrate the capabilities and competencies it
brings to enhancing security, stability and prosperity,” said Admiral
Stavridis. “And it is fitting that the ships and sailors of NATO are
part of this day, having just returned from their successful counter
piracy mission, Operation Allied Protector, off the Horn of Africa.”
The five NATO ships which participated in the Sea Day were:
NRP Corte Real (flagship, Portugal)
ESPS Blas de Lezo (Spain)
HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (Netherlands)
USS Halyburton (United States of America)
FGS Emden (Germany)
The U.S. carrier USS Eisenhower also participated in the event which
included naval exercises, a sail past by SNMG1, and an air power
demonstration by USS Eisenhower.
03 Jul 09
NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) hosts PBOS meeting
The NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) hosted the NATO Planning Board
for Ocean Shipping (PBOS) Working Group meeting 17-18 June. Over 45
delegates from 22 countries met at MCC Northwood for their annual
PBOS is one of nine NATO Planning Boards and Committees responsible for
developing and maintaining plans for civil shipping support to the
alliance in times of crisis and war, and seeks to facilitate access to
worldwide shipping. The members of the PBOS are representatives from the
national shipping authorities and by virtue of that also represent the
international shipping community. In addition, PBOS has a cadre of 60
shipping experts that are available to support the military with
commercial shipping expertise, exercise and actual deployment support.
The meeting was held at the Grims Dyke Hotel nearby the Headquarters in
beautiful surroundings. The meeting included a visit to Northwood
Headquarters and the NSC where they were given briefings regarding
current and future NATO counter piracy operations.
Cdr Stein Olav Hagalid, the NCAGS/NSC Branch Head and responsible for
hosting the WG said: “From my perspective, hosting this PBOS WG has been
a success with a positive outcome for both us and the members of the
PBOS WG. The NSC has in the past received good support from PBOS when
dealing with counter terrorism.
I think we can expect the same when dealing with counter piracy
Topics discussed included NATO commercial sealift availability, recent
security initiatives and their implication for the use of commercial
shipping by the military and protection against acts of terrorism. But
perhaps the most anticipated topic and discussion was the one on piracy
and NATOs further commitments in respect of the counter piracy ops in
the Gulf of Aden and in the Somali Basin. Many members of the PBOS
working group have been affected by piracy activities in the Gulf of
Aden and they are all keen to find a solution.
Information sharing is key to success and the NSC, as an information hub
in its communications with the maritime community as well as with other
organisations (e.g. Intertanko, Intercargo, ICS, BIMCO, IMB, IMO, UN
WFP), can establish and maintain a close dialogue with these maritime
community stakeholders. It is therefore important for the NSC to also
maintain close relations and liaison with PBOS as part of this
community. PBOS may also have the possibility to give support to the NSC
when dealing with counter piracy, as they have done in their support to
the NSC in NATOs counter terrorism operation, Operation Active
The PBOS members were very pleased with the meeting, describing it as
very constructive and valuable as well as informative. Several of the
participants made clear that they are now confident that NATO and MCC
Northwood are running the ongoing counter piracy operations in a best
possible way in close coordination with all other military actors in the
22 Jun 09
A day at the RacesThursday Jun 18, 2009 was Ladies Day at Royal Ascot. It was
also the day that a number of MCC Northwood personnel were able to take
advantage of Royal Enclosure tickets available through their respective
High Commissions and Embassies. Captain (USN) Jack Rumbaugh (right) and
Cdr (CAN) Ken Polson visited the tent reserved for Her Majesty's
Official Guests. While they were not able to convince the Yeoman Pricker
(the gentleman in the green velour great coat), they were treated to a
lesson in history. It was explained that the green velour material was
imported from France in the early 1700's by Queen Anne for her police
force. The greatcoat shown is therefore over 250 years old.
The remainder of the day was surreal for the North American guests. From
the arrival of the Royal party, to the spectacular horse racing - more
interesting when one makes a small wager on the result, the exotic and
and eye catching outfits, and the general friendliness of the crowd.
Wearing a uniform to Ascot is very worthwhile as it seemed to act as an
ice breaker for many. People were quick to ask if you were alright and
also to advise on the various activities that were occurring and make
sure that you were properly positioned to get the best view. The Royal
Ascot tailgate party also deserves mention. In North America, the
tailgate party is a very relaxed event. Not so at Royal Ascot where
china, silverware, crystal glasses, tablecloths, silver champagne
buckets etc are de rigueur. Only the candelabra was not in sight.
As the day ended with the traditional singalong, there was a realization
that we had attended a very special event.
10 Jun 09
Change of Command, Commander MCC Northwood
Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope KCB OBE, Commander of NATO’s Allied Maritime
Component Command Northwood formally handed over command to Admiral Sir
Trevor Soar KCB OBE during a Change of
Command Ceremony at Northwood Headquarters on 10 Jun 2009.
General Ramms, Commander Joint Force
Command, Brunssum (NL) officiated the ceremony.
Speaking at the ceremony, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope
“Maritime business across NATO has continued to grow in a very positive
manner over the past 18 months. My predecessor initiated a round Africa
deployment by SNMG1 in 2007 which demonstrated the alliances maritime
capability to deploy to strategic range, and provided, amongst many other
things, a hook for wider international military cooperation and engagement
for NATO. This sowed the seed to sail to Australia, via the Horn of Africa
and Singapore. Whilst on route in April, this group has been re tasked to
fight the menace of Piracy off the coasts of Somalia. a better example of
the flexibility of sea power and the value of deployed forces ready in
location is difficult to find. The Northwood Mine Counter Measures Group is
busy too preparing to sail across the Atlantic to the North American
continent this autumn to engage with our American and Canadian MCM
communities. In commanding and controlling these 2 standing groups on
operations across the globe we have learned a great deal and most
importantly are delivering what is required."
Admiral Sir Trevor Soar KCB OBE joined the Royal Navy in 1975 and has
served both in submarines and surface ships including HMS Ocelot, HMS Talent
and ASW frigate HMS CHATHAM.
27 May 09
Nations Unite to help The Peace Hospice
An International Night provided a great
start to the bank holiday weekend for staff at Northwood HQ.
This annual event which his organised by staff in NATO allows the
nations represented to showcase their national food and drink. Some staff
were in national dress, while others encouraged their colleagues to try the
national dish. All tastes were catered for by the NATO staff members. Dishes
ranged in variety from the Turkish lentil balls to Lithuanian pig’s ears to
Norwegian smoked salmon.
As well as the opportunity to experience different cultures, the evening
did have a fund-raising side. Each country donated a basket of national
“goodies” to be raffled with all proceeds going to
The Peace Hospice in Watford,
a holistic caring facility for terminally ill patients and their families.
Ticket sold quickly with everyone eyeing up the prizes. £1538 was raised
and presented to ms Gill Crowson, the Community Fundraising Manager of The
Peace Hospice. She said “ this was the best charity event she had ever
attended and thanked everyone for their contributions.”
17 nations were represented and over 540 guests attended. Lt Kerri
Yarbrough, one of the NATO organisers said “it truly was a first class
06 May 09
Successful Exercise Bold Minotaur
NATO instigated a Submarine Escape and Rescue Exercise, know as Exercise
BOLD MINOTAUR, Tuesday 5 May when a UK fictitious submarine ‘HMS
TALISMAN’ failed to report in to COMSUBNORTH, the NATO Northern region
The exercise, also known as a SMASHEX, is to practice the Command,
Control & Coordination and the emergency call out procedures of National
and NATO personnel along with the reactions for Search and Rescue. NATO
has a responsibility, as the Alerting Authority, to inform the nation
that owns the missing submarine, that it has failed to report in.
The National Authority will then respond by chopping OPCON back and
execute the Search and Rescue effort. In the unlikely event of such a
submarine incident, a worldwide coordination effort occurs. This effort
is coordinated using the NATO sponsored, funded and manned International
Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office (ISMERLO), out of Allied
Submarine Command (ASC), Norfolk, Virginia. Utilising the worldwide
nations can offer assistance and the Submarine Rescue Authority (SSRA)
can chose and coordinate the suitable assets to assist. BOLD MINOTAUR
was conducted off the UK south coast and the SSRA used the UK Submarine
Parachute Assistance Group (SPAG), with 6 Italians embedded, to
parachute from a C-130 onto the datum, establish a ‘life-raft village’
and offer assistance to the ‘survivors’. A UK support vessel MV SALMOOR
acted as safety vessel and a UK Frigate, HMS ARGYLL was despatched with
Escape First Reaction Stores, including medical staff, to recover the
survivors and offer further medical attention.
05 May 08
Services Commendation Award
After 20 years of
service in the US Navy, Senior Chief Petty Officer Michael F. Pastore
retired from active service today, to take effect 31 August,2009. During
a ceremony at MCC Northwood, where he has been based for the last 2
years, Senior Chief Petty Officer Pastore received several awards for
his dedicated service in the US Navy.
Captain David Dittmer, Chief of Staff, Allied Submarine Command, North
presented the Meritorious Service Award, Joint Service Commendation
Medal and the Certificate of Appreciation to SCPO Michael F.Pastore.
Michael Pastore will join the United States Fleet Reserve.
08 Apr 09
Visit by German Armed Forces Command and Staff College to MCC Northwood
On 8th April, Radm H. von Puttkamer and 21 students from the German
Armed Forces Command and Staff College visited MCC Northwood. The aim of
this visit was to enhance the understanding of the Maritime Component
Command HQ and the Permanent Joint Headquarters. Students discussed
current topics relating to NATO which are part of the course's study
programme. They were also briefed on the EU Operational HQ (Operation
Atalanta) while visiting Northwood.
03 Apr 09
On April 3th three former Dutch Chiefs of Staff visited MCC Northwood.
During the visit they were briefed on ongoing operations and activities
and were made aware of the changes in NATO policy, thinking and issues
with which it is confronted in 2009. After the MCC Northwood update,
they talked with the Dutch community at MCC Northwood, after which they
visited the Permanent Joint HQ and the EU Operational HQ.
Former Dutch Chiefs of Staff visit MCC Northwood
02 Apr 09
Expanded role for NATO Shipping Centre
Since the start of the NATO counter piracy mission, Operation Allied
Protector in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa, the NATO
Shipping Centre (NSC) has seen a 20% increase in position and movement
reports coming in from ships sailing through the area. The reports are
based on a voluntary reporting system covering the Mediterranean,
expanded to include the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in November 2008.
Lt Cdr Mark Hornung, Head of NSC said: “We are really pleased with the
way the scheme has been received. The number of calls and emails we have
received from ships transiting through the Mediterranean and down
through the Gulf of Aden demonstrates the need for our system.”
The NSC is NATO’s permanent point of contact for the international
shipping community to share information. It collates information from a
range of sources including the shipping community, other commercial
sources and reports – providing the NSC with a unique and comprehensive
overview of shipping in the Mediterranean and Gulf of Aden.
With the announcement of the new NATO counter piracy mission, Operation
Allied Protector, in the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa, the NSC
certainly expected to see its workload increase.
Cdr Stein Hagalid, NSC Branch Head, said: “We were ready for the
expected increase in work. The NSC has worked with the maritime shipping
community for the last 9 years. We have built up a lot of expertise and
contacts and are confident that we will be able to contribute to NATO’s
effort in countering piracy and armed robbery attacks.”
For the past seven years, the NSC has played an key role contributing to
NATO’s counter terrorism operation, Operation Allied Endeavour, by
providing information, guidance and advice to merchant shipping on the
ongoing Article 5 operation that has significantly deterred the illegal
transportation of weapons and ammunition through the Strait of Gibraltar
and the Mediterranean.
1. In response to a UN request in October 2008, triggered by the
increase in piracy incidents in the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa,
NATO defence ministers authorised NATO naval vessels to help protect the
World Food Programme ships carrying humanitarian supplies to Somalia.
2. The work done by the NSC is primarily aimed at supporting the
humanitarian aid that the UN World Food Programme is shipping into
3. Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty states that any armed attack
against one or more of the Parties in Europe and North America will be
treated as an attack on them all. Article 5 was involved for the first
time following the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre.
4.For more information about the NATO Shipping Centre, visit their
11 Mar 09
COMITMARFOR visit to the Press Information Centre and Shipping
Control Centre in Cagliari
Rear Admiral Claudio Gaudiosi (Italian Navy) visited the Cagliari Press
Information Centre and Shipping Control Centre on 9th March 2009. Rear
Admiral Gaudiosi was appointed Commander of the Italian Front Line Naval
Forces and Commander of Italian Maritime Forces (COMITMARFOR) on 26th
February 2009. He was briefed by staff from the Press Information Centre
on their specialist role during Exercise Loyal Mariner 09 working with
both the Exercise Simulated Press and journalists attending the Media
Day. Rear Admiral Gaudiosi then visited the Shipping Control Centre at
Cagliari Naval Base which has a vital role in the safe conduct of
multi-national operations during Exercise LM09.
09 Mar 09
Mr Gordon Brett Head of Operations Section International Staff visits
On Friday 6th March, Mr Gordon Brett visited MCC Northwood HQ
accompanied by Mr Erik Sandahl, Mr Kevin Melton and Ms.Claire Craanen,
all of whom work for International Staff at NATO HQ. The delegation of
the International Staff from the NATO HQ was received by Commodore Hans
Helseth, Deputy Chief of Staff Operations. The main aim of the visit was
to receive an overview of the MCC Northwood HQ and a general overview of
maritime operations. Mr Brett was briefed more specifically on Maritime
Situational Awareness; the forthcoming deployment of Standing NATO
Maritime Group 1, and on further initiatives at MCC Northwood. In
addition, he received information on the future Maritime Strategy and
the emerging issue of the High North. This very successful visit has
significantly increased the level of the present outstanding cooperation
in terms of understanding of the maritime issues.
08 Mar 09
Commander MCC Northwood HQ visits SNMCMG1
Deputy Commander MCC Northwood Vice Admiral Pim Bedet (Netherlands
Navy), in company with Mr Diego Ruiz Palmer, head of the Planning
Section, NATO Operations Division (part of NATO’s International Staff in
Brussels), paid a brief visit to the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures
Group One (SNMCMG1). The Group was sheltered from the strong winds and
meter-high waves that dominated the operations area of Exercise LOYAL
Following a short introduction to SNMCMG1 2009 Ethos of Professionalism,
Safety and Welfare, the VIPs attended the daily Mine Warfare Command
Update Brief presented by the staff, together with embedded augmentees
from EGUERMIN, NATO Centre of Excellence within Mine Warfare. The brief
provided detailed information on the progress of ongoing mine clearing
operations and the role of the Mine Warfare Commander during Exercise
LOYAL MARINER 09.
The Admiral and Mr Palmer were also briefed on the NATO Response Force
(NRF) accreditation which is taking place these days onboard SNMCMG1
Flag Ship HDMS THETIS.
Though the visit was limited for time, the VIPs spent time onboard two
of the Group’s mine hunters. Onboard the Latvian mine hunter LVNS
TALIVALDIS, recently acquired from the Dutch Navy, the Commanding
Officer Lieutenant Commander Oscars Derings briefed the VIPs on the
challenge of taking on and operating a new class of ship. The Commanding
Officer of HMS BROCKLESBY, Lieutenant Commander Tom Tredray,
demonstrated the ship’s operational capability including BROCKLESBY’s
latest equipment: the SEAFOX Single Shot Mine Disposal Vehicle.
The Commanding Officer of the NATO Mine Warfare Group, Commander Henrik
Holck Rasmussen Royal Danish Navy, was extremely pleased with the
distinguished visit: “It’s important to demonstrate our capabilities
live for our Lords and Masters, and I’m glad that the Admiral and Mr
Palmer took the time to drop by to see us”.
07 Mar 09
Base welcomes Deputy Commander MCC Northwood to Exercise
LOYAL MARINER 09
Vice Admiral Pim Bedet, (Royal Netherlands Navy) Deputy Commander of
NATO HQ Maritime Command based in Northwood, UK received a warm welcome
in Cagliari Naval Base today from Admiral Di Divisione Ermenegildo
Ugazzi (Commander Italian Navy in Sardinia). Vice Admiral Bedet visited
the NATO Exercise Loyal Mariner to witness military activity in the
region and meet key exercise participants from the many nations taking
The Admiral and his guest, Mr Diego Ruiz Palmer (Head of the Planning
Section NATO Operations Division) visited the NATO Mine Countermeasures
ships in the port and the Shipping Cooperation Point (SCP) which has
been set up to manage elements of the major exercise taking place in
Italian territorial waters and airspace over the coming week. The
Admiral also took the opportunity to visit the Allied Press Information
Centre created for Loyal Mariner, where Exercise Media (simulated
journalists) and real world media will be able to gain further
information on the core activities of the NATO Exercise.
The major NATO Live Exercise commenced in fine weather on Monday March
2, around the coast of Sardinia, with over thirty ships at sea taking
part in a range of activities. Since Wednesday, the weather has
deteriorated significantly which has temporarily suspended the diving
and mine countermeasures activity. Once the weather conditions improve,
the Mine Countermeasures Vessels seen alongside in Cagliari will sail to
re-commence their mission. The ships’ staffs are currently planning for
the next intensive phase of operations in Loyal Mariner 09.
The NATO fleet is commanded by the Italian Navy’s Rear Admiral Claudio
Gaudosi. The Italian Maritime Force is operating together with three
NATO Maritime task groups SNMG1, SNMCMG1 and SNMCMG2 and amphibious
elements of the Spanish Battle Group.
Loyal Mariner 09 provides a fictitious scenario based around the island
of Sardinia, where an imaginary political crisis is escalating -
renaming the island “SARDRUS”, setting the conflict between divided
ethnic groups and involving the International Community through a UN
The exercise crisis situation will test and demonstrate the NATO
Response Forces’ ability to provide security and humanitarian assistance
across a full spectrum of activity, including amphibious landings –
providing forces from the sea to gain stability on land against an
opposing force and evacuating people to a place of safety. The military
activity is provided by the North Atlantic Council in response to an
exercise specific United Nations requested mandate authorizing a
military response to extremist groups, preventing smuggling of weapons,
ethnic cleansing, and conducting security and evacuation operations.
Military personnel from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany,
Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands, Finland,
United Kingdom and the USA are participating in Loyal Mariner
2009. Comprising an integrated maritime force of aircraft carriers,
frigates, submarines, amphibious vessels, mine counter measures vessels
and assault ships, this high-readiness force is able to respond to a
wide variety of operational commitments and missions anywhere in the
world, critically focused on stopping and containing a crisis before it
develops into a wider dispute.
More Pictures on Loyal Mariner09
Press Release Exercise Loyal
05 Mar 09
Chief of Staff
MCC Northwood HQ visits SNMCMG1
Leading up to the Exercise LOYAL MARINER 09 Chief of Staff MCC Northwood
Rear Admiral Hubert
Hass (German Navy) together with
of Communications and Information Systems,
MCC Northwood, Captain
Harry Harsch (Canadian Navy) visited
Standing NATO Maritime Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG1)
alongside Cagliari, Sardinia 1-2 March 2009.
During the visit the Admiral had informal talks
every ships company of SNMCMG1 and
was introduced to the Latvian
LNS TALIVALDIS conducting MCM OPS (Mine Counter Measures Operations) at
HDMS THETIS the Admiral informally met with the Commanders of both
SNMCMG1 and SNMCMG2,
also taking part in
He was then
briefed by SNMCMG1 staff on the conduct of the combined Task Group MCM
operations during the exercise.
During the stay onboard the Admiral
discussed the SNMCMG1
Schedule of Operations 2009, which includes deployment to the East Coast
After an informative time with SNMCMG1
onboard HDMS THETIS the Admiral and the Captain were transferred to
FS MONTCALM in order to act as the opposition forces
25 Feb 09
Former Commander Coalition Task Force 150 (CTF 150) visits MCC Northwood
Commodore Per Bigum Christensen (DNK N) visited
MCC Northwood on 24th February 2009. The Commodore was Commander of the
Coalition Task Force 150 (CTF150) from 15 September 2008 - 12 January
2009 during the Force's operations in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and
the Indian Ocean. During his visit he briefed staff on the challenges
and operations the Force faced including anti terrorism, anti smuggling,
monitoring human trafficking, search and rescue and anti-piracy.
Commodore Christensen also paid an office call to the Deputy Commander
Vice Admiral Pim Bedet (Netherlands Navy).
CTF 150 has established a Maritime Security Patrol Area in the Gulf of
Aden. Units in this area are actively conducting operations to counter
de-stabilising activities primarily aimed at deterring and disrupting
acts of piracy.
18 Feb 09
Northwood Officers give lectures in Latvia
2 Officers from CCMAR HQ Northwood gave lectures
to Naval Intermediate Command and Staff Course (NISCS) 2009 in Riga,
Latvia. Lectures were given on several topics including NATO and MCC
Northwood’s structures and history as well as on current “hot topics” as
Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA), Operational Planning Process,
Piracy and Maritime Evaluation (MAREVAL). NICSC is a Junior Naval
Officers course educating students in planning and conduct of operations
up to the task group level across the spectrum of conflict. Additionally
this is a foundation course for possible further education in the Baltic
Defence College in Tartu.
NICSC 2009 comprises 15 officers from 4 countries. MCC Northwood has
been supporting NISCS since it's establishing in 2007.
05 Feb 09
HMCS Ville de Québec (former SNMG1) receives the Canadian Unit
HMCS Ville de Québec has been awarded the Canadian Forces Unit
Commendation for its work with the World Food Programme off the coast of
Somalia. The citation reads "for remarkable motivation and dedication
when its crew brought hope to a quarter of a million people by ensuring
the safe delivery of much needed food through pirate-infested waters off
the Somali coast."
The Canadian Forces Unit Commendation was created in 1980 to recognize
distinguished service by any formation, unit or sub-unit of the Canadian
Forces, or to any similar organization of a foreign armed force working
with or in conjunction with the Canadian Forces, that has performed a
deed or activity considered beyond the demand of normal duty.
The Canadian government assigned HMCS Ville de Québec, a 5000-ton
Canadian Halifax-class frigate, to the hazardous mission of escorting
World Food Programme (WFP) supply ships sailing to Somali ports. On 20th
August 2008, Ville de Québec departed Mombasa for her first escort duty.
Four days later, she completed this assignment by escorting the WFP
supply ship, Abdul Rahman safely to the port of Mogadishu, Somalia. In
total, the ship conducted 10 escort missions ensuring that 36 million
tonnes of food, enough to feed 1, 000 000 people for 3 months, reached
The ship returned to MCC Northwood control on October 30th after safely
transiting the Suez Canal. Commanding Officer, Commander Chris Dickinson
described the WFP mission as "extremely fulfilling" but was pleased to
rejoin Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 "after operating alone for so long
in such a hostile environment".
Naval vessels from NATO member countries have become major contributors
to the global effort in ensuring that WFP supply ships reach their
destinations without fear of attacks from pirates.
29 Jan 09
SNMG1 to Visit Portsmouth
Standing NATO Maritime Group ONE (SNMG1) will visit Portsmouth from 30th
January to 2nd February 2009. The force, under the command of Rear
Admiral José Domingos Pereira da Cunha, Portuguese Navy, currently
consists of two ships: NRP ÁLVARES CABRAL (Flagship from Portugal) and
FGS EMDEN (Federal Republic of Germany). They will be berthed at
Portsmouth Naval Base, home base of the Royal Navy.
23 Jan 09NATO Response Force to Conduct Exercise in
The NATO Live Maritime
Exercise Loyal Mariner 2009 (LMR09) will take place over the period
2nd–13th March 2009 off the coast of Sardinia including adjacent Italian territorial waters and
airspace. It will be commanded by Vice Admiral Bruce Clingan. This
exercise is intended to certify participating maritime forces for the
NATO Response Force (NRF).
23 Jan 09Standing NATO Maritime Group1 (SNMG1)
The Operational Handover for Standing NATO Maritime Group
One (SNMG1) took place in Ferrol (Spain), this morning where the outgoing
SNMG1 Commander, Rear Admiral José Rodriguez,
Spanish Navy handed over Command to Rear Admiral José Pereira da Cunha,
Portuguese Navy. The ceremony was presided by Admiral Sir Mark
Stanhope, Com MCC Northwood.
16 Jan 09
NATO Assistant Secretary General Martin Howard CB visits MCC Northwood
Martin Howard CB, NATO
Assistant Secretary General (Operations)
visited MCC Northwood on 16 January 2009 to receive a general overview
of HQ operations and to broaden his knowledge of
He was received by the Deputy Commander, Vice
Admiral Pim Bedet, and the Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Hubert Hass.
Briefing in the Maritime Operations Centre included a general overview
of maritime operations. More specific briefings were provided on
Maritime Situational Awareness; the forthcoming deployment of Standing
NATO Maritime Group 1; and Northwood’s contribution to NATO’s Allied
Provider mission to counter piracy and its current contribution to the
European Union’s ongoing maritime mission, Operation Atalanta. Mr Howard
was also briefed on 2 further initiatives at MCC Northwood, the future
Maritime Strategy and the emerging issue of the High North. After the
briefings he toured the NATO Shipping Centre, which continues to provide
support and advice to mariners, and has recently expanded its remit to
cover the dangerous waters of the Gulf of Aden.He
finished his routine visit by calling on the Commander, Admiral Sir Mark
Stanhope. Before Mr Howard departed, he
commended the staff on the quality and relevance of the briefings,
acknowledging his broader comprehension of the maritime domain.
15 Jan 09
Meeting of Defence Attaches and Naval Advisors in MCC Northwood HQ
On 13 January 2009, MCC Northwood HQ hosted a
meeting of Defence Attaches and Naval Advisors to discuss the coming
Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) programme for 2009.
The meeting was attended by
representatives from both NATO and non-NATO countries.
visitors received briefings on a wide variety of subjects, including
NATO and MCC Northwood's Military Co-operation Programme and the NATO
The meeting was very successful and was
considered an important part of the management process of the programme
for SNMG1 this year.
15 Jan 09
COM MCC HQ Northwood meets with Senior NCOs
On Wednesday 14th January Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope KCB OBE
hosted a working lunch at Admiralty House for the Senior NCOs (Non
Commissioned Officers) from the Maritime Component Command Northwood.
Prior to lunch COM discussed various topics including the ongoing PE
review, the future of the Head Quarters and Future Ops.
During lunch the COM answered questions and comments from
the NCOs before posing for a group photograph and presenting each of the
NCOs with a commemorative coin, which was struck to acknowledge the Year
of the NCO 2008.