U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY -- Members from U.S. Coast Guard Advanced Interdiction Team 2 embarked with the guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106) to train the ship's visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team and to conduct maritime law enforcement operations. AIT 2 is a deployable Coast Guard boarding team made up of 11 maritime law enforcement specialists with authority under the Department of Homeland Security to interdict, apprehend, and refer suspected criminals for prosecution. "Our primary mission aboard Stockdale is to be a force multiplier," said Coast Guard Chief Maritime Enforcement Specialist Brook Bossen. "Our goal is to enhance the Coast Guard's partnership with the Navy so we can work more hand-in-hand. In the changing climate in this part of the world, we have a lot to offer each other in the way of capabilities and operational platforms."
Stockdale's VBSS team and AIT 2 will train together so they will be prepared to integrate during actual operations while in theater. "I was really looking forward to their arrival personally because they can train us up and help tweak and improve some of our methods," said Lt. j.g. Chris Polson, VBSS officer aboard Stockdale. "VBSS is unfortunately only a collateral duty for us, but these guys get to do this everyday and they bring a lot of law enforcement experience to the table."
Bossen said his team has nearly 60 years of combined law enforcement experience to draw from when training Stockdale's VBSS team. "What we can provide is a sustainable training regiment that they can conduct on their own throughout the year," said Bossen. "We can also make recommendations to help them grow and advanced their skills." The training and integration between the two teams has already built the confidence they will need to complete their missions.
"Given our inter-agency cooperation and this platform, we can be successful in decreasing the amount of piracy activity taking place in this operating area," said Bossen. Stockdale is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility promoting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.