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CNO, MCPON meet sailors in Afghanistan

By MCC (SW) Maria Yager , Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435

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Jan. 23, 2011 — CENTCOM

Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary Roughead and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick West met with Sailors from Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 during a visit to the Detention Facility in Parwan on Jan. 21. Photo by U.S. Navy Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Maria Yager.

PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Jan. 23, 2011)— The Chief of Naval Operations and the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy visited more than 300 Sailors conducting and supporting detention operations at the Detention Facility in Parwa on Jan. 21.

“Your job is extraordinarily dependent on your professionalism and the way that you deal with people and treat people and I want to thank you for how you do it,” said Adm. Gary Roughead, CNO.

“It is so vitally important to the overall mission that we are doing in Afghanistan,” the admiral said.  “Not just what you do, but I would submit most importantly, how you do it, is what can determine success or failure.”

The DFIP is a state-of-the-art theater internment facility located near Bagram Airfield. The design of the DFIP allows for safe, humane and effective management of the detainees captured from the battlefield, and allows willing detainees to participate in group activities, educational and training programs.

CNO and MCPON Rick D. West said they make it a point to visit Sailors working in detention facilities in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan to thank Sailors for their efforts in detention operations, which are often performed not only under the watchful eye of leadership, but also of human rights organizations and the world’s media.

CNO, MCPON, Vice Adm. Dirk Debbink, Chief of Naval Reserve, and Naval Reserve force master chief, Master Chief Petty Officer Ronney Wright, met with Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-435 leadership for a brief on operations at the DFIP.

CJIATF-435 is commanded by Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward, and is responsible for all U.S. detention operations throughout Afghanistan and supports the overall strategy of defeating insurgent groups and of building the capacity of the Afghan government to provide security for its people. U.S. Navy Task Group Trident, commanded by Cmdr. John J. McGinn, consists of more than 300 Sailors who directly support the mission of CJIATF-435 by augmenting the 1,300 member U.S. guard force at the DFIP.

“I think what you are doing here is important,” Roughead said.  “It is making a contribution, but it is also giving you experiences that I think will make you a better leader and then a better contributor to whatever unit you go to after this.”

After a tour of the facility, CNO and MCPON met with Sailors for an all-hands call and spoke about the latest news from the fleet, discussing Perform to Serve, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and the Navy’s efforts in the Middle East and South Asia.

“It was really nice and meant a lot that the CNO and MCPON would make the trip here – we weren’t forgotten,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class James Reid, deployed to Afghanistan from USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) working at the DFIP. “I love it here. I enjoy working in a joint environment.”

MCPON said it is important for Navy leaders to get out in the battle space and look Sailors in the eye to thank them for their service.

“Our Sailors are the best they’ve ever been in the history of our Navy right here, right now,” said West. “You are doing an exceptional job and you need to know that.”

During the visit CNO and MCPON took time to dedicate a new fitness center for the staff of the DFIP named for Petty Officer 3rd Class Arvin Lee Wright, a Task Group Trident Sailor killed in a post-deployment automobile accident.

CJIATF-435 includes U.S. service members from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, plus civilians and coalition members

CJIATF-435 is committed to safe, secure, humane care and custody of detainees in accordance with U.S. law, DoD policies, directives and regulations, including Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions.

The DFIP is commanded by U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mandi A. Murray, 46th Military Police Command, Michigan National Guard, Task Force Peacekeeper. TF Peacekeeper missions include: provide oversight of detainee operations at the DFIP, train the Afghan National Army (ANA) in detention operations, oversee construction of the Justice Center in Parwan, the U.S. logistical support area (LSA) and the ANA LSA.

Units organized under TF Peacekeeper are the 402nd MP BN (IR), U.S. Navy Task Group Trident, the 96th MP BN (IR) and Task Force Medical. The 402nd, of the Nebraska Army National Guard, is responsible for providing care, custody and control of detainees along with all operations within the DFIP.   The 96th MP BN (IR), U.S. Army Reserve, is responsible for training the ANA in detention operations.  Task Force Medical is an inter service unit made up of Army, Navy and Air Force personnel, from active duty forces, the reserves and the National Guard. They are responsible for the medical care of both U.S. service members and detainees.