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Bahrain Based Service Members Participate in Exercise Desert Sailor 07

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070502-11
Release Date: 5/2/2007 3:29:00 PM

From Naval Support Activity Bahrain Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- More than 800 service members from virtually every command in Bahrain and approximately 300 members of various Bahrain governmental agencies took part in the largest shore-based exercise ever held at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain on April 24.

Exercise Desert Sailor 07, a mass casualty drill spearheaded by NSA Bahrain/Navy Region Southwest Asia (NRSWA), was designed to provide emergency services personnel the opportunity to function together in a practical scenario.

“The purpose of this exercise was to provide the environment for all response entities –- both NSA and Bahraini -– to exercise and evaluate existing response plans, tactics, techniques and procedures in order to improve the overall crisis and consequence management response tools,” said Robert Massie, lead exercise coordinator and NSA Bahrain/NRSWA Emergency Management Office director.

According to NSA/NRSWA Commanding Officer Capt. Mark J. Deardurff, the exercise provided an opportunity for U.S. service members and Bahraini participants to train together in a controlled and realistic environment.

“Overall, things went quite well,” said Deardurff. “We made sure that this training was valuable for all the participants, and when we bring all that together, everyone benefits.”

The two-hour exercise included service members, Department of Defense personnel and hundreds of personnel from the Government of Bahrain Ministries of Interior Health and Defense.

According to Massie, this was the largest and most complex training exercise ever held aboard NSA Bahrain. Massie said the exercise served to bolster the already significant relationship NSA/NRSWA shares with the local population and Bahraini governmental agencies.

“Whenever U.S. forces operate on foreign soil, it’s important to maintain as close a relationship with the [host nation] partners as we can,” he said. “We have, for some time, enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Bahraini security and emergency response entities, and that relationship is built on mutual trust that each of us will be there for the other should the need arise.

"This exercise was yet another example of the level of cooperation and mutual understanding that we share.”

More than 350 service members assigned to the NSA Bahrain/NRSWA Naval Security Forces (NSF) department provided force protection, anti-terrorism, physical security and law enforcement support roles throughout the exercise, something NSA Bahrain NSF Security Officer Lt. Abraham Castoire said provided a real-world test of the department’s capabilities and response.

“Besides the actual April 24 drill that took place, we implemented internal drills to further test security forces’ reaction to different situations,” he said.

“Overall, the entire NSF team was highly motivated and professional throughout the exercise, and I feel extremely confident that the men and women here will successfully and appropriately react to any real-world incident that may take place in this area,” Castoire said.

Although the installation and local response services were actively engaged in the two-hour drill, the NSA Bahrain/NRSWA Emergency Response Team (ERT) played a pivotal role in this exercise, according to ERT Operations Chief Utilitiesman 1st Class (SCW) Sean Cunningham.

“This was a very important exercise for ERT,” he said. “Most of the time, each element works and trains on their own without being involved with the other elements, but this exercise brought them all together to work as one team to rescue those that were in ‘danger’ and work with other departments, including host nation fire and rescue.”

Cunningham said one of the key lessons he hoped members of the ERT were able to take from the exercise was the importance of dialogue.

“Clear communication between all departments and elements that respond to the incident has to be established,” he said. “Once there is a breakdown of communications, the operation will falter and vital information may not get passed on to help and/or protect those that are in the area of danger.”

Representatives from Naval Branch Health Clinic (BHC) Sigonella, Detachment Bahrain, also participated in exercise Desert Sailor 07, setting up medical stabilization sites and triage units. According to BHC Detachment Bahrain Senior Enlisted Advisor Master Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/AW/FMF) Glenn McBride, this particular training provided the 70-plus participating medical professionals the opportunity to hone their skills.

“There was a lot of good information for triage, which reinforced training we already host,” he said.

While the exercise showcased the capability of the NSA Bahrain/NRSWA assets as well as the capability of cohesively operating with local response entities, Massie said the exercise was essentially a learning tool for all participants.

“There are many valuable lessons learned whenever you have an opportunity to conduct an exercise of this magnitude,” he said. “A number of important operational lessons were learned as a result, and now we need to take those lessons learned and make the adjustments that we need to improve operationally.”



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