MANAMA, Bahrain –
Ensuring maritime security and stability locally requires more than written agreements and handshakes. The mission needs skilled Sailors who are knowledgeable in operating their vessels amid the region’s vast geography and challenging climate.
This week, Sailors from the Royal Bahrain Naval Force joined the crew of patrol coastal ship USS Chinook (PC 9) for a three-day professional exchange that ended Sept. 21. Bahraini and U.S. crewmembers discussed best practices for engineering, search and rescue, damage control and weapons handling during training opportunities ashore and at sea.
Chinook’s operations officer, Lt. j.g. Elijah Jackowitz, felt training at sea was particularly beneficial.
“It was eye opening to work with our Bahraini partners,” said Jackowitz. “I learned from them just as much as they learned from us. We got to share how we operate underway on the bridge and conduct boat ops, man overboard drills and gun shoots – things that we can do at sea.”
In March, Bahrain inaugurated five patrol coastal ships into the Royal Bahrain Naval Force that were previously operated by the U.S. Navy. The close ties between the maritime forces enhance bilateral cooperation and interoperability.
During the first day of working with his Bahraini counterparts, Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Brian Miranda-Perez led a training event with a device on the ship called a “J-bar,” which is used to hoist personnel out of the water.
“Being from Puerto Rico, English isn’t my first language,” said Miranda-Perez. “I’m used to working with language barriers, so I tried to make the engagement as simple and interactive as possible. There were lots of questions and everyone was very involved.”
On the second day, Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Nathan Rattelade discussed techniques for safely handling and shooting shipboard weapons, including the MK 38 Mod 2 25mm machine gun system.
“I’ve been part of other exchanges like this with the Royal Bahrain Naval Force,” said Rattlelade. “I think this helps solidify our relationships in the region, and also it helps me learn about other cultures.”
The final day of exchanges covered topics on damage control and how to handle hazardous material aboard a ship.
“It was awesome to get to show them how we do business and get insight into how they do business because we drive the same type of ship,” said Jackowitz. “We are based in their home country and I believe the U.S. Navy gets stronger the more we strengthen our partnerships throughout the region.”