MANAMA, Bahrain -- U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels partnered with a French frigate for a three-week interoperability training in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, Oct. 15 – Nov. 9.
USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332), USCGC Maui (WPB 1304), USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196) and French frigate FS Courbet (F712) partnered for the training, led by U.S. 5th Fleet’s Task Force (TF) 55, which was designed to assess interoperability in a controlled environment and continue to strengthen the U.S.-French maritime relationship.
"Full integration in maritime operations in a forward deployed environment takes time to develop, and FS Courbet's inclusion in Task Force 55 are the fruits of our collective labor over the last five years,” said Capt. Adan Cruz, commodore of TF 55. “U.S. and French Naval forces have forged a bond and common understanding that makes our countries and our navies a more formidable fighting force together than either would be alone."
During the training period, TF 55 maintained tactical control of Courbet. Courbet, in turn, was assigned duties are the surface action group commander and maintained tactical control of several U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships.
The training evolutions consisted of liaison officer exchanges, gunnery demonstrations, visit, board, search and seizure training, high value asset defense techniques, replenishments at sea, and deck landing qualifications.
The interoperability training allowed the partner nations to share common doctrine and procedures in order to overcome language barriers and equipment compatibilities in order to unify efforts in support of aligned strategic military efforts. Key to the integration effort was TF 55’s liaison officer, Lt.j.g Erinn Chang, who embarked Courbet during the training.
“Embarking Courbet and seeing the day-to-day activities and working with the crew was an amazing experience… being the bridge between Task Force 55 and Courbet was truly an honor,” said Chang. “I also greatly enjoyed the fresh French bread every day.”
The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses nearly 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The region is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab-al-Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.
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