OPFOR’s ever-vigilant Navy PAO sent me a link to this NPR story:
Coalition Forces Watch Over Iraq’s Oil Platforms
In the southern waters off Iraq, the patrol ship USS Whirlwind keeps a constant vigil over two offshore oil-transfer platforms that are indispensable to Iraq. Some sailors call them the crown jewels.
The oil platforms bear the scars of a turbulent history: bullet holes and other damage from the Iran-Iraq war and also from the first Gulf War.
U.S. naval personnel work together with Iraqi marines to protect the oil platforms. On the al-Bashrah oil terminal, known as ABOT, the Iraqis live in a large building at one end called the White House, which has sleeping quarters and a mess hall. At the other end of the platform, the Americans live in converted cargo containers, piled three high.
These guys are doing some tough work. There aren’t many stories about all the work the Navy is doing to train the Iraqi Navy, probably because the Bahgdad hotels most reporters file their balcony dispatches from aren’t within eyesight of the coastline. Here’s a bonus link on the USS Ogden “the Navy’s oldest active amphibious ship, is currently serving as the Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) for the multinational maritime coalition operating in the North Persian Gulf., that is also working to train Iraqi sailors and Marines.”
This graf caught me at the end of the piece:
In addition to protecting the terminals from terrorists and suicide bombers, the forces also have their eyes on the Iranian navy, which often intrudes several hundred yards into Iraqi waters.
Captain Pat Roane of the USS Lake Champlain says that coalition forces regularly have to tell the Iranian navy to back off.