Stars & Stripes Article


Stars and Stripes Article


Special Boat Team Receives Commendation; SEAL Gets Bronze Star
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2007 13:32:39 -0500
By Lt. Chris Usselman, Naval Special Warfare Command Public Affairs

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Naval Special Warfare Boat Team (SBT) 12 was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation, and a SEAL (SEa, Air, Land) was awarded the Bronze Star Medal in a ceremony aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado Feb. 14.

The Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman (SWCC) and SEAL commandos of SBT-12 received the award for unparalleled success in support of Naval Special Warfare and unified command missions during Operation Enduring Freedom. SEAL, Cmdr. Larry Lasky, received the Bronze Star for his noteworthy achievements in Afghanistan.

The Navy Unit Commendation is awarded to units that distinguish themselves in mission accomplishment, as did SBT-12 over the past three years.

"Our SWCC warriors and special boats are in the thick of the fight," said Cmdr. Brent Jenkins, chief staff officer, Naval Special Warfare Group 3. "Our special boat teams maintain an incredible operational tempo, conducting missions on six continents during the war in Afghanistan, the global war on terrorism and in preparation for a host of contingency situations."

Between 1999 and 2002, SBT-12 executed 220 maritime interdiction operations, resulting in the seizure of 106,000 metric tons of oil, prohibited under United Nations sanctions against Iraq. The SWCCs of SBT-12 also provided the first U.S. security force on scene after the
terrorist attack on USS Cole (DDG 67) in October 2000.

"The small crew sizes of these boats mean that each SWCC must shoulder a heavy load to make each mission a success," said Jenkins, a surface warfare officer. "These are the types of guys you can depend on in a pinch."

Additionally, within days of the Sept. 11 attacks, SBT-12 surged to a 100 percent increase in deployed boat detachments, captured multiple Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists, and effectively halted the flow of illegal oil in the Northern Arabian Gulf.

"This recognition shows how important our Special Boat Teams are to America, the Navy and Naval Special Warfare," said the Navy's top SEAL, Rear Adm. Bert Calland, who formally presented the awards. "This also demonstrates how indispensable our SWCCs are to fighting the war on terrorism."

SWCC must pass a rigorous training program to operate the highly specialized boats, the MK V Special Operations Craft, a medium range insertion/extraction platform for SEALs, and the 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boat, a short-range insertion/extraction craft.

Also during the ceremony, Lasky, a SEAL attached to Naval Special Warfare Group 3, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his personal contributions to global war on terrorism.

"This is very humbling," said Lasky, when asked how it felt to receive one of our nation's highest military honors. "This validates the preparation we do on a daily basis, because we train like we fight," he said.

While serving as Commander, Naval Special Operations Forces (NAVSOF) attached to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force South in Afghanistan, Lasky planned 10 combat missions, which resulted in the capture of dozens of enemy personnel and the destruction of tens of thousands of pounds of enemy materials. These operations were conducted during a 30-day period with no combat casualties and a 100 percent success rate.

Lasky's leadership directly contributed to the successful mission of coalition forces to control a key Taliban stronghold. In advance of the main U.S. force, NAVSOF sent an armed patrol from the Afghanistan area known as Camp Rhino on a 140-mile trek across the high-desert region to the city of Qandahar. The success of NAVSOF in a land-locked battlefield under harsh conditions validated the unique versatility of Naval Special Warfare forces while hundreds of miles from the coastline.

"Naval Special Warfare's flexibility, agility and responsiveness is the core of our strength," said Lasky, a former commanding officer of SBT-12. "Our strength is based on teamwork and the rigorous training we undergo, which enables us to accomplish the mission in any environment."

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