• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland


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  • 2 July 2017

    On 5 July 2017 leadership of NATO’s Standing Mine Counter Measures Group Two (SNMCMG2) will be transferred from Poland to the United Kingdom.


    On 5 July 2017 leadership of NATO’s Standing Mine Counter Measures Group Two (SNMCMG2) will be transferred from Poland to the United Kingdom. The change of command ceremony will be held in Portsmouth.


    SNMCMG2 is one of four standing maritime groups under NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM), along with Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1), Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2), and Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group One (SNMCMG1). The four groups are “immediate reaction” forces comprised of vessels from various NATO countries. The purpose of the standing forces is to provide NATO with a constant readiness to perform military operations should the need arise, with ships strategically positioned to protect the most important NATO sea routes. The maritime groups also participate in diplomatic missions and their multinational character encourages cooperation between NATO countries. MARCOM, the NATO command in charge of the maritime groups, launched in 2012 after a reorganization of NATO’s command structure. Since its beginning MARCOM has been headquartered in Northwood, United Kingdom.


    The flagship of SNMCMG2 under Polish leadership has been the ORP Kontradmiral Xawery Czernicki, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Aleksander Urbanowicz. The Czernicki is manned by an international staff from NATO’s Standing Maritime Group, the chief of which is currently a German naval officer. Besides the flagship, the mine counter measures group is comprised of ships from Turkey, Spain, Italy, and Germany. Lieutenant Colonel Urbanowicz was the first Pole to be commissioned head of SNMCMG2, an event made even more special by the fact that the flagship was Polish as well (before this Poland had led a NATO mine counter measures group twice, but in SNMCMG1 on the Baltic and North Seas). The transfer of command to the Polish warship occurred in the port of Świnoujście, Poland, on 17 January earlier this year. The command had previously been held by Greece.


    The Czernicki’s role as flagship of SNMCMG2 has only been the latest chapter in the vessel’s colourful career. It is the Polish Navy’s newest warship, going into service 1 September 2001. The Czernicki served in the Persian Gulf (participating in operations “Enduring Freedom” and “Iraqi Freedom”) and in counter-terrorism operations in the Mediterranean Sea. The ship began its career with NATO in 2010 as a part of SNMCMG1. Apart from NATO, the Czernicki is part of the 2nd Minelaying and Transport Squadron of the Polish Navy’s 8th Coastal Defence Flotilla.


    The Czernicki was well-equipped to take on the task of SNMCMG2 flagship. Because of its high-end communications system, the ship is capable not only of commanding functions but of logistical operations such as supplying other ships with fuel, water, and food. The Czernicki is also outfitted for performing repair functions while at sea.

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