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Cablegate: South Africa: Observation of Maritime Response Squadron

VZCZCXRO5194
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSA #2470 3361239
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 021239Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0436
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 7390
RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 1461
RUEHJO/AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG 9746
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS PRETORIA 002470

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
Department for AF/RSA Scott Fisher

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MCAP MARR ASEC SF
SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICA: OBSERVATION OF MARITIME RESPONSE SQUADRON
ACOTA TRAINING
1. (SBU) Naval Attache and Deputy Political Counselor visited
Saldanha Naval Base on November 24 to observe a State Department
Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) course

in progress for members of new South Africa's Maritime Response
Squadron. The visit was coordinated through the Pretoria Office of
Security Cooperation and State Department contractor Northrop
Grummman: Training and Simulation Group.
2. (SBU) Naval Attach and POLOFF arrived at Saldanha Naval Base
(approximately 150 km north of Cape Town) just as a high-level South
African delegation was leaving the base. ACOTA team members John
Kelly, Don Bobo, Tim Westrook, Brian Rich and Bon Linsey greeted us
and briefed us on their work since November 5th. The trainers said
they had been working daily with an average of approximately 30
members of the Maritime Response Squadron, a number of whom are
expected to deploy to relieve another unit which is currently
deployed as part of a specialized UN peacekeeping unit charged with
maritime interdiction duties in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
3. (SBU) The ACOTA teams briefed us on the drowning prevention
training they had just completed, commenting that only three out of
thirty trainees were competent to handle themselves in the water
carrying full gear before the training but all thirty had progressed
to the point of having full confidence operating in the water.
Despite the trainees' limited experience with maritime operations,
the ACOTA team praised their trainees as a reliable unit of good
marksmen led by an exemplary young ensign. Emboffs looked on as the
trainees and their instructors prepared for a boat launching
exercise.
4. (SBU) Returning from escorting the visiting South African VIPs,
Commander Roy Combrink led Naval Attache and POLOFF from the ACOTA
training to tour a base camp assembled to house 100 Maritime
Response Squadron members. The base camp was fully equipped and
capable of operating for thirty days before being resupplied. The
enclosed camp contained comfortable-looking eight-man tents, two-man
tents, a weight training tent, an cardiovascular exercise tent,
dining and ablution facilities, waste management, water
purification, generators, boat repair facilities, fuel bladders, and
equipment.

GIPS

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