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Patriot, Lassen Strengthen U.S.-Russia Alliance with Conclusion of Pacific Eagle

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071003-04
Release Date: 10/3/2007 4:04:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Joshua J. Wahl, Fleet Public Affairs Center Det. Sasebo, Japan

USS PATRIOT, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Patriot (MCM 7) and USS Lassen (DDG 82) successfully completed the bilateral Exercise Pacific Eagle with the Russian Federated Navy Sept. 30.

Patriot and Lassen departed Vladivostok, Russia, Sept. 28 after the exercise's initial in-port phase to conduct at-sea manuevers over the next three days.

Participating Russian ships included Admiral Panteleyev-548, an Udaloy-class destroyer, a BT-100 minesweeper, a GS-84 survey vessel and a RB-326 towboat.

Exercise Pacific Eagle involved a series of maritime activities, to include mine countermeasures, visit, board, search and seizure, and search and rescue. It was the largest bilateral exercise between the two navies hosted by the Russian Pacific Fleet since 1998.

The exercise was aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the region by enhancing the strategic partnership between Russia and the United States.

“Pacific Eagle allowed both the Russian and United States navies to learn from each other,” said Patriot Commanding Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Thomas E. Shultz. “The in port phases were key because it offered the chance for each side to gain trust and confidence in each other. And the underway phases proved that by operating together and forming a strong partnership, it increases the strength and capabilities of our navies in maintaining stability throughout the region.”

On the deckplate, Patriot Sailors found the hard work and training they did in evolutions prior to this exercise paid off.

“Everybody on the ship came together to work as a team and make our participation with the Russian ships a big success,” said Chief Mineman (SW) Felipe Gallegos, Patriot Deck Department leading chief petty officer. “I was definitely proud of my guys getting everything out in record times for our minesweeping operation, and then watching the Russian ships do the same.”

Communication at sea between the U.S. and Russian ships came together to prove all ships were mission capable to work in a shared environment at sea.

“I think working with the Russian navy is very important in regards to securing the seas,” said Mineman 2nd Class (SW) Charles A. Jackson. “We were definitely prepared and eager for the opportunity to work with the Russian sailors, improving our communication and coordination with their navy.”

Many Patriot Sailors felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment to complete the final evolution after the weeklong meetings and briefs talking to their counterparts while in port.

“It makes me feel proud to come here into a foreign country and leave a positive lasting impression between our cultures that says we can work together,” said Mineman Seaman Kyle C. Ames.

The Sasebo, Japan-based Patriot, which serves as 7th Fleet’s mine countermeasures arm, has been operating in the Western Pacific under Task Force 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. Task Force 76 is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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