The Gulf: HMS Atherstone’s Crew Takes Part in Artemis Trident

HMS Atherstone's Crew Takes Part in Artemis Trident

The crew of HMS Atherstone (MCM2 Crew 4) has had a busy first month of their six month tour of duty in the Persian Gulf.

After taking over HMS Atherstone in early June from Crew 1, Crew 4 have spent their first month preparing and conducting a major combined UK/US/French Mine Countermeasure exercise, ARTEMIS TRIDENT.

Working with eleven other warships, fast jets, helicopters and underwater vehicles from all three countries, the small but capable Task Group demonstrated how they would work together to maintain freedom of navigation on the high seas and contribute to maritime security.

ARTEMIS TRIDENT was a routine exercise to further develop the expertise and skills the Crew practised during pre-deployment training to be able to deliver an expeditionary mine countermeasures force.

It also allowed the three nations the chance to develop and exchange best practice in mine clearance and to improve unit operability in the warm and shallow waters of the Gulf.

During the exercise, HMS Atherstone used her sophisticated hull-mounted sonar to detect multiple exercise or ‘drill’ mines and also her Seafox remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and organic mine clearance diving team to identify and classify them.

For the purposes of the exercise, the drill mines were ‘neutralised’ by lifting them to the surface and recovering them onboard. Atherstone’s totals for the exercise were 47 Seafox missions, 12 diving sorties and four drill mines ‘neutralised.’

The hard work did not stop with the end of the exercise, as there was plenty of maintenance to complete once HMS Atherstone returned to port in Bahrain where she is based for three years.

There was also time for physical development with eight members of the Crew 4 entering the annual 4th of July Independence Day 3k run at the US Navy support base in Bahrain.

In a drastically different result to its namesake, the Brits came out on top claiming first, second, fourth and fifth place out of a large field.

The honours belonged to Sub Lieutenant Matt Brown, with Chief Petty Officer Al Kennedy coming in a very close second place.

Other high placed runners were Midshipman Dave Mayes (4th) and Petty Officer Joe Morton (5th).

Lieutenant Commander Simon Rogers, Commanding Officer of Crew 4 said, The Crew’s ability to hit the ground running at the very start of our deployment is testament to our pre deployment training package and the professionalism of the Crew.

To achieve a successful exercise with our US and French counterparts and victory in the US Navy Independence Day run in our first three weeks in theatre, despite the searing heat of the Gulf summer, demonstrates the ‘Work hard, Play hard’ ethos within Crew 4 and sets the tone for our six month deployment.’

Press Release, July 12, 2013; Image: Royal Navy