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Germany Takes Command of Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group ONE

KIEL, Germany – This morning, Royal Netherlands Navy Commander Peter A.J. Bergen Henegouwen relinquished command of Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group ONE (SNMCMG1) to German Navy Commander Martin Schwarz during a brief ceremony conducted by NATO Allied Maritime Command’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Commodore Arian Minderhoud, in Kiel Harbour.  The ceremony was also attended by the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations of the German Navy, Rear Admiral Georg von Maltzahn.

"Mine Counter Measures and the ability to counter the mine threat are at the heart of NATO’s maritime operations. MCM-operations provide a crucial contribution to each of the maritime tasks as described in NATO’s Alliance Maritime Strategy and are an integral and vital part of all maritime and joint operations.”  said Commodore Arian Minderhoud, NATO Allied Maritime Command’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. "Commander Peter Bergen Henegouwen, you and your team have done an excellent job in commanding SNMCMG1 over the last 12 month. Peter, you can look back at a successful command of SNMCMG1. You have lead the group with lots enthusiasm, professionalism and a clear focus.” 

SNMCMG1 has been commanded by Commander Peter Bergen Henegouwen since January 2015 who said on the occasion "You will have to work on group integration, but once you have made international friends you will never forget your time with the group. It will strengthen our MCM community not only with friendships, but also with the international cooperation needed to keep our waters safe from underwater explosives, also in the future.” .

Upon completion of the change of command ceremony, the new flagship of SNMCMG1 is FGS DONAU, an ELBE-class replenishment ship, or tender. Commander Martin Schwarz (DEU N) stressed on his speech that "In order to fulfil the mission to the best of our ability, I intend to focus on team spirit and professionalism. On the way to become a team we will learn from each other and so deepen the professional understanding of our core business. This will enable us to provide NATO with the required Standing Naval Element for the enhanced Response Force.” .

Under German command, the Group will continue to play an integral role in support of sustained assurance measures, operational support and exercise participation.   

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