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USS Stephen W. Groves Conducts Exercise with South African Navy Submarine

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110215-08

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Jamieson, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa/Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

SIMON'S TOWN, South Africa (NNS) -- USS Stephen W. Groves (FFG 29) participated in a joint-maneuvering exercise with South African Heroine-class submarine, SAS Charlotte Maxeke (S-102), off the coast of South Africa, Feb. 10.

The exercise was part of a joint-training series operation between South Africa and the U.S. Navy.

Cmdr. Matthew Rick, USS Stephen W. Groves commanding officer, said the exercise allowed the crew to test their ability to deal with real-life situations they could face during their military career.

"Training with another nation's vessel allows the crew to execute in real time," said Rick. "We train constantly using simulations, but having an actual submarine to train with provides hands-on experience that is unmatched in anything we can do while independent steaming. Combine that with the chance to work with the South African navy, and it was a win-win situation for both crews and nations."

The exercise focused on close quarters maneuvering which allowed watchstanders to train in vessel avoidance and contact management.

"It is extremely rare to have the opportunity to train with a foreign navy's warship," said South African navy Cmdr. Darren White, Charlotte Maxeke commanding officer. "We met every objective and were impressed with the precision with which the crew of Stephen W. Groves handled this exercise."

Two Groves Sailors, Lt. Shane Collins and Ens. Daniel Stayton, had the opportunity to spend two days embarked aboard Charlotte Maxeke.

"It was really impressive to see the professionalism and efficiency with which Cmdr. White's crew went about their operations," said Collins. "They were great hosts, and the whole experience is one I will treasure."

"The crew of the Charlotte Maxeke brought us on board and helped us feel right at home," said Stayton. "I had a great time and walked away immensely impressed with the type of operational tempo and command climate they have aboard."

Stephen W. Groves also hosted numerous ship riders from the Charlotte Maxeke. This training was part of the U.S. Navy's initiative to strengthen military partnership nations throughout the continent of Africa.

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