NORFOLK, Va. - Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) announced the official name change for all Coastal Riverine Forces to Maritime Expeditionary Security Forces (MESF), Sept. 17.
While history and tradition are important to the U.S. Navy there are times when a name does not capture the role and mission of a force. The new name captures the MESF growing blue-water fleet integration and contributions to the high-end fight in an era of great power competition, which is more robust than the legacy riverine roles.
“As we maintain a connection to our legacy we must honor those warriors that come before us and learn from their heroism,” said Rear Adm. Joseph DiGuardo, NECC's commander, “we must continuously evolve to meet the needs of the Navy and the nation for great power competition, crisis, and conflict. The change to Maritime Expeditionary Security Force clearly articulates the mission of our Sailors to reinforce lethality in the blue water and dominate in the littorals.”
“Navy Expeditionary Combat Force Sailors assigned to the MESF reinforce lethality and support the Navy-Marine Corps team in naval power projection ashore,” said Capt. David Rowland, commodore, Maritime Expeditionary Security Group (MESG) 2, “as well as in the littorals and open ocean, through missions such as port security/high-value asset (HVA) escort and embarked security teams. Our mission is important and our name needs to match the mission we do today, in a time of great power competition.”
The Maritime Expeditionary Security Force provides a core Navy capability with littoral operations in contested environments through port and harbor security, high value asset security, and maritime security operations in the coastal and inland waterways.
“Our crafts are very advanced and specialized to provide all facets of maritime security operations,” said Senior Chief Raymond Hoke, “The force protection we provide supports and enables the fleet to project power around the world. The name change reflects the nesting of the force’s capabilities within the Navy Strategy and in support of national-level objectives.”
Hoke is a boat captain for the Mark VI and second in charge of the Mark VI team for Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 3, which falls under MESG 1 in San Diego.
When asked about the training that boat crews go through Hoke explained that all Sailors receive the same small arms and crew-served weapons training. The Sailors qualify as basic and advanced weapon operators and go through extensive communication equipment training, navigation training, and medical training.
“We train as one unit in realistic scenarios that better prepare us for mission tasking, said Hoke, “because of our extensive training and expertise of our seasoned operators, Sailors here, no matter what their rate is, will learn and possess specialized skills that enable the fleet to be a more resilient force.”
The MESF consists of two groups; one in San Diego and one in Virginia Beach. With deployed units around the globe that include both active duty and reserve Sailors. This includes two expeditionary security detachments in Guam and Bahrain; seven maritime expeditionary security squadrons, and 31 maritime expeditionary security companies.