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Phoenix Express 2012 Pre-Sail Conference Marks Start to Underway Exercise

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120517-26

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

SOUDA BAY, Crete (NNS) -- Service members from European, North African and U.S. Naval forces participated in a pre-sail conference kickoff for Exercise Phoenix Express 2012 (PE12) at the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Center (NMIOTC) in Souda Bay May 16.

Leadership from U.S. 6th Fleet, the NMIOTC and the participating ships took part in the event, during which they discussed the at-sea training portion of the exercise.

"Maritime interdiction operations is a mission that I do not see diminishing in importance," said Capt. Bradley Martin, commodore, U.S. 6th Fleet's Task Force 68. "I'm very glad that we have an exercise like this that does such a great job of training different navies to carry out the mission."

The at-sea portion of PE12 focuses on improving maritime domain awareness and interaction between forces afloat and the combined maritime operations center ashore. Combined maritime forces will execute a series of training scenarios exercising force protection measures, boarding procedures, search and rescue, replenishment at sea, and helicopter operations.

"Phoenix Express is a great opportunity for many different nations to work together," said Hellenic navy Commodore Adrianos Poulos, commodore of the NMIOTC. "We develop common tactics in maritime interdiction operations and create new friendships among the participating crews."

PE12, a multinational maritime exercise between Southern European, North African and U.S. Naval forces, is designed to improve cooperation among participating nations and help increase safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea.

Participating countries in PE12 include Algeria, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Libya, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States.

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