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Naval Exercise in Ecuador Strengthens Regional Partnerships

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080709-04
Release Date: 7/9/2008 4:25:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class J.T. Bolestridge, USS Farragut Public Affairs

USS FARRAGUT, At Sea (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) and the guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59) of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 40 completed bilateral exercises with the Ecuadorian Navy, July 7, off the coast of Ecuador.

The day-long evolution included maritime interdiction operations (MIO), a simulated bilateral peacekeeping effort and an air defense exercise -- all which helped increase interoperability between the naval forces.

"Only by working and communicating with our partner nations can we hope to have the relationships and trust needed in the event of a crisis requiring a multinational effort," said Cmdr. Scott Dugan, Farragut's commanding officer. "We conduct these operations to train together and learn from each other."

Seven ships from Ecuador and the U.S. participated in the exercise.

"Ecuador's economy, like the United States', depends heavily on free, unencumbered maritime shipping to prosper, but no one country can protect the maritime domain from the wide variety of threats that exist today," said Lt. Robert McFarlin, Farragut's operations officer.

"Together we face many challenges that require cooperative solutions to overcome, which is why multilateral and bilateral exercises such as this are important to ensure that our two navies will be able to work together to defend anything that threatens those free shipping lanes efficiently and professionally, should the need arise."

The exercise aimed to strengthen friendships, foster mutual cooperation and further the commitment to regional security.

"Trust and interoperability between the U.S. Navy and Latin American navies cannot be surged," explained Cmdr. Rob Rafford, DESRON 40 chief staff officer. "That is why conducting these exercises and strengthening our relationships with our partners in the hemisphere is so important. Should the need arise to come to the aid of one of our Latin American partners, we can do so together as a team efficiently and professionally."

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