NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BAHRAIN – Petty Officer 3rd Class Noah Coe, a Dayton, Ohio, native joined the Navy to carry on a family tradition of military service.
Now, three years later and half a world away at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Coe serves aboard an avenger-class mine countermeasures ship (MCM), USS Dextrous, tasked to search and dispose of enemy mines in the world’s most dynamic maritime region as the leading-edge of the Navy.
“We have a very steep learning curve here and every day you have to learn something new,” said Coe. “Mine hunting is a very exciting career.”
Coe, a 2016 graduate of Wayne High School, is a mineman aboard the Manama, Bahrain-based ship, one of four MCMs forward-deployed to the Arabian Gulf in the Navy’s U.S. 5th Fleet operating under Task Force 52.
“Mineman are responsible for assisting in the detection and neutralization of underwater mines,” said Coe.
Task Force 52 plans and executes mine warfare operations in support of U.S. 5th Fleet’s operational objectives.
Coe credits success in the MCM force, and in the Navy, to many of the lessons learned in Dayton.
“My parents instilled a strong work ethic in me,” said Coe. “They taught me to try new things and always strive to do my best.”
USS Dextrous is 224 feet long, 39 feet wide and weighs over 1,300 tons. Four diesel engines, designed to have very low magnetic and acoustic signatures, help push the ship through the water at 16 miles per hour.
As mines threaten maritime traffic indiscriminately, the U.S. and partner nations are committed to taking all action necessary to reduce the risk of mines to support the continuous free flow of commerce and freedom of navigation throughout the region. MCMs are outfitted with the means to detect and disable them, ensuring sea lanes remain open for military, commercial and civilian vessels. These ships use a variety of novel and conventional sweeping measures, including sonar and video systems, cable cutters and remote control mine-detonating devices.
“We maintain security of the traffic route for goods shipped in the Arabian Gulf,” said Coe.
The Navy’s mine countermeasures in the U.S. 5th Fleet are divided between three separate legs, consisting of airborne, surface and underwater methods. These consist of the MCMs such as USS Dextrous, MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15, and unmanned underwater vehicles, as well as expeditionary explosive ordnance disposal teams. All three legs work together to hunt and neutralize mines.
The Navy’s U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of ocean, and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, comprised of 20 countries, includes three critical choke points; the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.
“There is a night and day difference from back home,” said Coe. “I enjoy the culture and experiencing all that Bahrain has to offer.”
Serving in the Navy means Coe is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
“I’m incredibly proud to serve with each of our Sailors, Coastguardsmen and Marines forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations,” said Rear Admiral Paul Schlise, deputy commander for NAVCENT/ U.S. 5th Fleet. “They represent the very best of our country and serve as volunteers in a complex and dynamic region that’s vital to our security. I am honored to work alongside these warriors.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Coe is most proud of representing his country overseas.
“It is nice to know that I made an impact on more lives than just my own,” said Coe. “I am proud of helping build up my shipmates and being part of a team.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Coe and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs
“Being in the Navy means that I put myself in a position to actually make a difference in the world,” said Coe.
Are you ready to get back out or is it still too soon for you?