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Ukrainian Sailors Discover New Partners Aboard USS Mount Whitney

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070512-03
Release Date: 5/12/2007 11:29:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David C. Holmes, Commander, Naval Forces Europe-Commander, 6th Fleet Public Affairs

USS MOUNT WHITNEY, At Sea (NNS) -- Ukrainian Navy sailors are temporarily aboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC 20) to familiarize themselves with U.S. Navy protocol and improve overall cohesiveness.

By observing the embarked Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 air detachment conduct deck landing qualifications and vertical replenishments, the Ukrainians are gaining valuable knowledge about U.S. Navy safety and operating procedures. This professional exchange helps everyone involved and contributes to the Commander Naval Forces Europe/Commander U.S. 6th Fleet strategic priority to improve maritime security and safety by building stronger partnerships.

“We have gotten a great opportunity to come to the ship,” said Ukrainian Maj. Igor Komarov, who is aboard Mount Whitney with fellow Ukrainian Maj. Roman Pischevskiy.

Komarov, a flight navigator who served with a U.S. unit in Iraq two years ago, said working with the U.S. Navy is a great chance to strengthen the relationships.

“I think the information is very useful and think it will help us in our future service in the Ukrainian Navy. We have met a lot of very kind people and all the guys from the air detachment have really helped us,” he said.

Komarov added that the professional development learned here will be applied to future efforts in Active Endeavor, an ongoing multilateral operation that supports the war on terrorism.

“It’s been a lot of fun and they’ve been very eager to learn,” said U.S. Navy pilot Lt. Scott Halvorsen, operations officer for HSC-28 “Ghostriders." “Our overall goal is to teach them to maintain a proper flight deck and tower, so that we can safely operate off Ukrainian ships to do cross deck operations.

"Since they are here only as observers, we’ve been training mostly on air traffic control procedures; using the tower, communicating between Mount Whitney and the aircraft, and safety procedures.”

Halvorsen said it is important to strengthen U.S. ties with Ukraine and other nations to keep our alliances strong, so that when contingencies arise at sea they are able to effectively support one another.

“It’s also fun for us to go to other ships and bounce on their decks and eat some of their food when we get there,” said Halvorsen.

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