(Google Translation) – On Monday, July 12th, 2021 at 10 a.m., the tender “Elbe” and the mine-hunting boat “Homburg” will leave their home port in Kiel together to join the NATO Standing Mine Countermeasures Association, SNMCMG 1 (Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1). The tender “Elbe” is used as a lead ship for the US-led staff of the international naval association.
The tender “Elbe” belonging to the support squadron, under the command of Corvette Captain Sebastian Nacke (34), with its 68-strong crew will serve as the command and flagship for the international association. For this purpose, a staff consisting of 15 soldiers is embarked. This staff is led by a staff officer of the US Navy, Captain Samuel Patton Brasfield – a novelty in the history of SNMCMG 1. This association operates in the waters of the North Sea and Baltic Sea and is usually alternated annually from the navies of the neighboring nations guided. In addition to other soldiers from the US Navy, the staff is supplemented by soldiers from Norway, Estonia and Bulgaria. In addition to its flagship function, the tender will also serve to supply the smaller anti-mine boats. For example, he has a diving doctor and a diving pressure chamber to look after the numerous mine divers in the association on board. The “Elbe” is expected to return home on December 18, 2021.
The mine-hunting boat “Homburg” from the 3rd minesweeping squadron, under the leadership of Lieutenant Florian Holzhüter (32), is one of the association’s active anti-mine units with its 43-strong crew. Part of the crew is also a mine diving team of four soldiers from the Portuguese Navy. In addition to nautical and other association exercises, Historic Ordnance Disposal Operations, missions to search for and remove old ammunition, are also on the program. These are primarily planned for the upcoming deployment phase in the English Channel in the coastal waters of the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. The “Homburg” will return to the home port of Kiel on October 26th, 2021 after she was previously replaced by the sister boat “Bad Bevensen” in the association.
For the “Elbe” and the “Homburg” there are numerous exercises and maneuvers, including “Joint Warrior 2021”, as well as various port visits. With visits to Cardiff, Liverpool, Glasgow and London in the United Kingdom and Rouen in France as well as further visits to the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway, the crews have an attractive program ahead of them. All soldiers were vaccinated in advance, but depending on the further development of the corona pandemic and the associated regulations, it is still unclear whether or not the crews will be able to go ashore in the respective ports.