By By Commander U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs |
NCAGS serves as the interface between merchant shipping and military operations and is made up entirely of U.S. Navy reservists, many of whom are professional merchant mariners who leverage their civilian expertise and experience when they report for naval duty.
Ensigns Michael Petty, Jonathon Deering, and Conor O’Donnell, all classmates having graduated from State University of New York Maritime College last year, completed their first Navy Reserve orders as students in the Strategic Sealift Officer Post-Commissioning Indoctrination course in Norfolk, Va. Soon after, they applied for their current orders to NAVCENT.
“After commissioning, our instructors mentioned NCAGS and what they do,” said Petty. “From that moment on I knew it was something I was definitely interested in.”
Deering attributed the success he experienced during this ADT to his team and leadership.
“It was a pretty steep learning curve,” said Deering, “I sharpened my communication skills. This job definitely teaches you to think and be on your feet because things out here happen quickly.”
The NCAGS staff also benefited from the junior officers’ service to the team.
“The time I was able to spend with the Ensigns and the knowledge they provided me from a merchant mariner perspective has been invaluable and has given me a better understanding on how merchant vessels operate,” said Chief Operations Specialist Tommie Riley, the NCAGS senior enlisted leader.
The three officers were a part of a small group of Navy reservists asked to support this mission and while expectations of the team were high, they exceeded them.
“I’ve been impressed with how much each officer grew during their time out here,” said Lt. Cmdr. Carly Meyer, the NCAGS assistant officer in charge. “It was clear from the start, they were very capable, but the fact they were actively engaged and continually asked the right questions set their performance apart from others. Their eagerness to learn and soak up the Navy mission never faltered during their tenure and lent itself to overall mission success.”
O’Donnell reflecting on his time at NCAGS said U.S. 5th Fleet’s reputation as a dynamic area of operations (AOO) was validated.
“It’s an outstanding opportunity to be on a major staff in this theater,” said O’Donnell. “I was chomping at the bit to start my Navy career and have an opportunity to be a part of the team out here. You work alongside some of the best and brightest people.”
NCAGS monitors over 5,500 ships in the region, including 100 or more U.S. merchant vessels. This increased awareness enables all U.S. and international partners to deter and expose malign activity in the maritime domain.
The U.S. 5th Fleet AOO encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.
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