In the very first mission of an F-125 class frigate, the performance of the frigate “Baden-Württemberg” has been impressively demonstrated so far. Now there was another event to be carried out for the first time in foreign operations with the F-125 class: a crew change.
In October of last year, the “Baden-Württemberg” set sail from Wilhelmshaven. An assignment away from home can last up to two years for this class of ship. Supply and minor repair stops in various international ports are part of the operational planning. In order to maintain the operational capability of the state-of-the-art ship for as long as possible, a new concept is being applied to the provision of personnel. The so-called multi-crew concept provides that a complete exchange of personnel can be carried out anytime and anywhere without having to move the ship to its home port. In the mission UNIFIL United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon In addition to Beirut, the bases in Limassol in Cyprus and Mersin in Turkey are among the ships’ ports of call. In the latter port, such a crew change took place for the first time.
The crew “Delta” has made it and completed the mission assigned to it at UNIFIL United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon successfully fulfilled. Comparable to the handover of a battalion, the frigate “Baden-Württemberg” is transferred with all its facets to the crew “Bravo”. In the future, the ship will continue to drive them on the mission UNIFIL United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon in the eastern Mediterranean. Before the official roll call, there are preparations and briefings for the new crew. On the day of the handover, it started in the early morning hours. On the one hand, the old crew has to vacate their seats, on the other hand, many things still have to be on board in order to be able to set sail again soon.
“Crane operation – crane operation – helmet must be worn in the swivel area of the crane,” it echoes over the frigate’s loudspeaker system. Everyone can hear it and knows. The beginning, but later also the end, of the crane operation is announced in this way. The F-125 class ship has several cranes to transport heavy material or provisions on board. As in a civilian workplace, the crane operator has the appropriate training to guarantee safe movement. Where the crane cannot reach, the “Allemanns maneuver” is used. This will also be announced over the public address system.
Several tons of food are necessary to be able to spend several weeks at sea. These must now be brought on board. To this end, the “Bravo” crew carries out an “Allemanns maneuver”: Regardless of rank, every soldier lends a hand. Drinks, canned food, frozen goods, but also fresh fruit and vegetables are brought to the pier by several trucks. Previously, the goods were ordered by the crew’s provision master. He also coordinates the maneuver and specifies where on board the goods are to be stowed. In this way, the many tons of food can be easily and quickly spent on board.
For about 16 months, the responsibility of the “Baden-Württemberg” was in the hands of the commander, frigate captain Tilmann von der Lühe. Finally, it was his task to hand over responsibility for the ship. After several days, which lasted the entire handover process, the official roll call took place on the flight deck. Flotilla Admiral Dirk Gärtner, the commander of the MTF Maritime Task Force at UNIFIL United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, began by acknowledging the achievements and results of the departing crew during the mission. In particular, the “Delta crew” managed to successfully use the capabilities of the F-125 frigate class in action for the first time. Gärtner was impressed by the interaction between the staff and the ship. In addition, he was firmly convinced that the “Bravos” would continue the mission in the same successful way.
Before Flotilla Admiral Dirk Gärtner handed over the mission to the “Bravo” crew led by Commander Dirk Matheis, he awarded the old crew the Bundeswehr mission medals for the UNIFIL United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon-Mission. The first level, Bronze, is awarded for participating in the mission for 30 days or more. The other levels “Silver” and “Gold” are awarded from 360 days and from 690 days. The days of operation do not have to be contiguous. The sum of several operating times is decisive. After the roll call, the “Bravo” crew has now taken over. For the “Deltas” it is time to return home. They return to Germany by plane from Turkey and, for most of them, go on a well-deserved holiday.