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US, UK Engage in Personnel Exchanges During MCM Exercise

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080306-09
Release Date: 3/6/2008 11:53:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Schaeffer, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

PERSIAN GULF (NNS) -- The U.S. and U.K. navies engaged in personnel exchanges during a coalition mine countermeasures (MCM) exercise in the Persian Gulf, Feb. 26 to March 6.

Throughout the exercise, two Sailors each from USS Scout (MCM 8) and HMS Blyth (M 111) exchanged places daily to see the workings of the other nation's ship and learn how the other ship conducts MCM.

"It really gives you a taste of what the other country's navy is like," said Scout's Chief Engineman Ron Sharp, who toured Blyth to see how Blyth's engine room is run.

"We're all here to serve the same mission, so it's a good experience to find out how they do things," Sharp said. "Most of the time we do things pretty much the same way."

Mineman 3rd Class Nicholas Perez was one of several Scout Sailors who served as a tour guide for the British sailors. Perez showed off Scout's MCM capabilities, including the sonar system that locates and classifies mines.

Perez said having the British sailors aboard Scout was a good experience.

"They were really excited to learn my job and to see what we have aboard," said Perez. "They're really enthusiastic about working with us, as we are with them."

The British sailors who toured Scout saw the exchange as a chance to strengthen interoperability among coalition MCM ships.

"If somebody comes and assists, whether it be American assisting British or British assisting American, it's good for the communicator to have a face for who he's talking to on the other end," said Royal Navy Petty Officer Warren Malcom, stationed aboard Blyth.

The personnel exchanges played one small part in the exercise. U.S., U.K. and Kuwait forces trained together to locate, identify and destroy dummy mines planted in a simulated mine threat area.

Coalition sea services operate across the full spectrum of operations to include mine countermeasures capabilities, a key element of Maritime Security Operations (MSO). This exercise allowed the coalition forces to train and demonstrate their ability to counter potential mine-laying and to maintain open sea lanes and anchorages in the region.

MSO help set the conditions for security, which promotes stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusnc/.



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