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Tortuga Departs for Fall Patrol

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071010-11
Release Date: 10/10/2007 11:47:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brandon A. Myrick, USS Tortuga Public Affairs

USS TORTUGA, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Tortuga (LSD 46) departed Sasebo, Japan, for its semi-seasonal fall patrol throughout the South Pacific region Oct. 8.

Talon Vision and Phiblex 08 are training exercises and will run concurrently Oct. 15-31, and will partner 2,700 U.S. and 1,300 Philippine military personnel for two weeks of training emphasizing the importance of U.S. military forces from Japan in supporting the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.

“We will be conducting joint and bilateral training exercises with the armed forces of the Philippines as we continue to strengthen our security assistance program,” said Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Todd A. Lewis. “Bilateral training is vital to maintaining readiness capabilities for both the U.S. and Philippines armed forces.”

Numerous training events will focus on a variety of sea and land-based capabilities. Naval assets of Tortuga will provide a sea-based platform for simulated Marine raids, and Sailors of both nations will conduct simulated maritime interdiction operations and visit, board, search and seizure training.

“The exercises are being conducted to facilitate interoperability, increase readiness and continue to improve professional relationships between the United States and the Philippines armed forces,” said Operations Officer, Lt. Robert D. Starks. “Bilateral training is part of the long-term security assistance program between the [Philippines] and U.S.”

Along with the training schedule, Sailors on board Tortuga will be able to experience the vast array of foreign port visits as well as interact with the local community by volunteering for community service projects.

“I know how important the operational training is, but my favorite part is getting out with the locals and volunteering my time in community service projects,” said Engineman 3rd Class Kenneth Lake. “It is my way of personally getting out and doing something positive.”

While community service projects act as a one-on-one friendship builder, bilateral training is part of the long-term security assistance program between the Republic of the Philippines and U.S.

“Exercises like these go a long way toward supporting the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region,” said Lewis.

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