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Iwo Jima COMPTUEX Marks First for U.S., Brazilian Navies

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080721-01
Release Date: 7/21/2008 3:38:00 PM

 

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Michael Starkey, Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group Public Affairs

USS IWO JIMA, At Sea (NNS) -- The Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) and the Brazilian Navy participated in a Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX) July 8-18, marking the first time a Brazilian Navy surface unit fully integrated into a U.S. strike group.

The crew of the Brazilian naval ship (BNS) Greenhalgh (F-46) used this opportunity to increase interoperability with other navies and to prepare for possible future international naval missions.

"I think that working within the task group, this exercise proves that we can work together in the future," said Cmdr. Claudio Mello, commanding officer of Greenhalgh. "We'll probably have more Brazilian units coming and joining future exercises.

"I believe that in the future if Brazil thinks about sending another unit, our experience will prove that it has some issues to be solved, but it's not that hard. We have the right equipment and the right people to be able to come here and work together."

Greenhalgh's primary capabilities helped it integrate smoothly into the ESG for COMPTUEX.

"Our ship is an escort, and its main mission is anti-submarine warfare (ASW) but also has anti-ship-to-surface capability and air defense capabilities," said Mello. "We were used mostly for that type of defense and also in some specific missions that were carried out by the U.S. ships such as maritime interdiction operations and our visit and boarding teams.

"We participated in most of the same exercises that the U.S. ships were able to take part in."

Not only does this exercise help the U.S. with its training, but it's also significant to Brazil, specifically in how it works with the United States.

"This is a very important change in the way that we've been working with the U.S. and exercises such as COMPTUEX," said Mello. "Eight years ago we had a frigate here as an opposition force, and the last two years we've had submarines working as opposition forces.

"I think the biggest change in this exercise is that we were able to work within the task group, so that's a different level of challenge. With an opposition force you have inputs from the people that are controlling the exercise, where we should be and what we should do. With Greenhalgh within the task group architecture, we had to be integrated with planning and the execution of the entire exercise. That's a different level of challenge."

Another first during the exercise was the fact that Greenhalgh and the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) were the first two ships to operate the new CENTRIX IANTL system at the tactical level. This communications system allowed the exchange of classified messages and chat.

With the completion of the COMPTUEX, the Iwo Jima ESG and Greenhalgh will now participate in the USS Theodore Roosevelt's (CVN 71) upcoming Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 08-4.

The Iwo Jima ESG consists of Iwo Jima, with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26 MEU); the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50); the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17); the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72); the guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61); all homeported at Norfolk, Va.; the guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), homeported at Mayport, Fla.; and the fast attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768), homeported at Groton, Conn.

For more news from Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/iwoesg/.



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