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U.S., Chinese Navies Complete SAREX Together

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS060921-13
Release Date: 9/21/2006 3:00:00 PM


By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ashley Hickman, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Chinese crew of the People’s Liberation Army (Navy) (PLA(N)) destroyer Qingdao (DDG 113) and U.S. Navy Sailors from the USS Shoup (DDG 86) and Torpedo Weapon Recovery Vessel Swamp Fox (821) conducted a Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) off the coast of Southern California Sept. 20.

SAREX is a routine exercise that focuses on understanding the procedures necessary to find and save those who are lost at sea. U.S. Navy ships regularly cooperate with foreign navies around the world in this type of exercise.

“This is the first in a series of bilateral exercises that the U.S. is conducting with the Chinese,” said Commander, Destroyer Squadron 7 Capt. Michael Gilday. “In the past few years, the dialogue between both countries has deepened. Military-to-military contact is an important part of that relationship.”

China and the U.S. Pacific Fleet have participated together in the Hong Kong SAREX several times, most recently in 2003, but had no direct interaction due to the exercise scenario.

During this SAREX in San Diego, damage controlmen and corpsmen from both Shoup and Qingdao combined forces in simulated flooding and medical emergency drills on Swamp Fox to get a better understanding of how each navy operates.

“We demonstrated how we would save the ship not only from fire and flooding, but also from medical casualties,” said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Cindy Cruzan, independent duty corpsman aboard Shoup. “It was very exciting. The Chinese Sailors did a very good job and were very professional. It was difficult with the language barrier, but through demonstration and a lot of acting out, we were able to accomplish what we intended, which was demonstrate our abilities to save the ship.”

This joint SAREX directly contributes to military maritime objectives of improved air and maritime safety, and underscores the Pacific Fleet’s commitment to supporting ongoing cooperative efforts in the Pacific region.

“Both navies have a good understanding of each other’s seamanship and airmanship operations,” said Gilday. “I am confident if our navies were in the position to conduct a joint search and rescue operation in the real world, we would be able to.”

After the PLA(N) ships complete this goodwill tour with port visits to Canada and the Philippines, the Chinese navy will conduct part two of the SAREX off the coast of China.

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