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    NAVSCIATTS Graduates Class 17-1

    NAVSCIATTS Graduates Class 17-1

    Photo By Leah Tolbert | 161121-N-JK586-001 STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – Cmdr. Clay Pendergrass, with the...... read more read more



    Story by Angela Fry 

    Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School

    STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – Naval Special Warfare Group 4’s Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School, located at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, recently graduated 29 students from 11 countries, who completed various courses of instruction offered at the international schoolhouse.

    This iteration featured students from Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sierra Leone and Trinidad-Tobago. The selected individuals were able to study at NAVSCIATTS’ facilities in order to develop operational proficiency and technical knowledge and skills in specialized courses ranging from the school’s Patrol Craft Officer-Coastal, its International Tactical Communications Course, Outboard Motor Maintenance and Overhaul, Diesel Systems Overhaul and Maintenance, Technical Welding and Applied Repairs, International Small Arms Maintenance, to its inaugural iteration of the Junior Officer/Noncommissioned Officer Leadership and Planning course.

    Students, NAVSCIATTS’ staff and invited dignitaries gathered at the Diamondhead Country Club on Dec. 1, to honor the students for their achievements and for newly-forged relationships. “As I look back over NAVSCIATTS’ training history, I find that our students range from the ranks of E-3 to 0-7, participating in 20 courses from 108 partner nations,” stated the schoolhouse’s commander, Clay Pendergrass. “When I talk to these students, they express that NAVSCIATTS has changed their opinions of America and Americans.”

    Pendergrass, who has spent the majority of his U.S. Navy career as a SEAL, went on to explain that although a primary mission of the schoolhouse is to train United States’ partner nations in a variety of courses of instruction, relationship-building will always be a primary focus for the international schoolhouse. “This is always a place you can call regardless of what you need,” he continued. “Someone at this command is ready to support you, just as we would support Americans. Thank you for trusting us to be your friend, to be your guide and to be your cohort.”

    Pendergrass explained his perception that the success of the programs offered at NAVSCIATTS is due to the close-knit relationships of the full-time staff. “This is the finest group of instructors I have ever worked with in my entire military career,” he stated. “As we recognize our graduating students, I find it also important to recognize those who support students; because as my Lebanese students pointed out, this is a family.”

    With NAVSCIATT’S' primary mission as the U.S. Special Operations Command’s international center specializing in mobile and in-resident training across the tactical, operational and strategic spectrums in order to strengthen partner nation capabilities, an invitation to address the graduates was extended to Capt. Jose L. Jimenez, the United States Coast Guard’s chief of response for District 8 in New Orleans. Jimenez is responsible for response operations spanning 26 states, including the Gulf of Mexico coastline from Florida to Mexico, the adjacent offshore waters and outer continental shelf, as well as the inland waterways of Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Tennessee River systems.

    “As experts of the maritime domain, we are responsible for securing our coastal areas and inland waterways, countering threats from terrorists and piracy, and safeguarding our nation’s infrastructure,” Jimenez explained regarding the U.S. Coast Guard’s mission. “Each of the graduating members here tonight has selflessly volunteered to sharpen their proficiency and intuition to protect their homeland.”

    Jimenez also reiterated the importance of long-term relationships in combating international maritime challenges. “The Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School’s core methodology is developing partner nation capacity and strengthening strategic relationships and it is led by our nation’s finest in Naval Special Warfare, small boat tactics, communications, engineering and weapons,” he explained. “Regardless of where your skills were upon arrival, you have earned extraordinary and unique competencies while forming lasting bonds with students from other nations.”

    Jimenez closed his address to the graduates of the 17-1 iteration by reminding the students of global challenges. “Many of you likely face challenges with transnational criminal activities or regional terrorist threats,” he stated to the international students. “Similarly, the U.S. Coast Guard is not alone in the battle against narcotic smuggling; we have established interdependent partnerships with Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and foreign naval forces to disrupt this network. As you return to your homelands, maintain an open mind toward partnerships that can aid in your services’ success.”

    In closing remarks, 17-1 class leader, Lt. Col. Arnold Abad of the Philippine National Police, expressed his appreciation on behalf of the class to the NAVSCIATTS’ staff and instructors. “NAVSCIATTS must be very proud to have a pool of instructors such as you,” the 22-year law enforcement veteran explained. “Not only with Patrol Craft Officer-Coastal course, but also from the other courses. I have received a lot of positive feedback from the students and I salute you!” Abad continued by explaining that regardless of someone’s years in service, education never ends. “Going back to the question, ‘Is there anything left for me to learn in this course?’ The answer is yes; and I learned a lot. All I needed to do was to empty my glass so it could be filled with fresh knowledge; and that I did.”

    NAVSCIATTS currently offers approximately 20 courses with an average of nearly 1,000 international personnel annually graduating from in-resident and mobile training events. Since 1963, more than 11,000 students from more than 108 partner nations have graduated from NAVSCIATTS. The Security Cooperation schoolhouse operates under USSOCOM in support of the Foreign Security Assistance and Geographic Commander’s Theater Security Cooperation.

    For more information on NAVSCIATTS’ history and courses offered, visit



    Date Taken: 12.02.2016
    Date Posted: 12.05.2016 11:39
    Story ID: 216426

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