2015-01-22 Murielle Delaporte, the Co-Founder of Second Line of Defense and the editor of Operationnels SLDS, is currently with one of the two NATO counter-mining groups. Her full report will appear on the Operationnels website and magazine.
The change of command of the group is held twice a year and Dutch Navy Commander Peter A.J. Bergen Henegouwen is now the Commander of the SNMCMG1, replacing Lithuanian Navy Commander Premeneckas.
It was the first time Lithuania was commanding this naval group, which was just reactivated given the Ukrainian crisis.
“Lithuanian Navy Commander Giedrius Premeneckas has been the commander of the group since August 2014, and the Lithuanian Navy ship the LNS Jotvingis has functioned as the flagship” says HQ MARCOM news release.
The Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group ONE (SNMCMG1) will include a total of seven ships.
In addition to the German flagship FGS Donau, from which the Dutch CO will be commanding the group, the BNS Lobellia (Belgium), the HMS Pembroke (UK) and the FGS Auerbach (Germany) are to leave the Dutch military harbour Den Helder.
Three other ships from the Netherlands, Poland and Norway will join the group later on.
“SNMCMG1 has been a critical asset for the Alliance in the past year, playing a major role in providing maritime situational awareness, and in providing assurance to Allies of NATO’s commitment to collective defence,” said Commodore Minderhoud.
“We are very proud of the outstanding job Commander Premeneckas and his team have done these past six months in rising to every challenge, and we look forward to continued great work under Dutch command, as SNMCMG1 will continue to play an important role in sustained assurance measures in 2015.”
According to a story on the MARCOM website, some additional data was provided with regard to the past deployment.
Commander Premeneckas took command of the Group on August 7 during a port visit to Klaipeda, Lithuania.
This deployment marked the first time that one of the Baltic States commanded one of NATO’s four Standing Naval Forces.
During his time in command, the Group participated in a number of large-scale multinational exercises, including the Finnish Navy-led NORTHERN COASTS 2014 and the Royal Navy-led joint forces exercise JOINT WARRIOR 2014.
The Group’s ships also put their specialized skills and equipment to use conducting historic ordnance disposal operations off the French coast, clearing mines dating back to World War I and II in an effort to make the waters safer for all who use them.
“I am grateful to the Commanding Officers and crews, staff personnel of SNMCMG1 for their professionalism and dedication serving under my command,” said Commander Premeneckas.
“All our achievements surely have to be credited to their exceptional team work, and I would feel privileged having a chance to serve with them in the future.”
The Group also visited numerous ports in the Baltic, demonstrating Alliance commitment to collective defense with visits to Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, and strengthening partnerships with a visit to Finland.