The guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely (DDG 107) participated in a combined passing exercise (PASSEX) with the Egyptian Navy Ship Toushka (FFG-906), May 20.
The passing exercise was highlighted by each ship’s visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team boarding the other ship. Egyptian navy personnel who embarked Gravely during the exercise were able to observe a damage control drill and a man overboard drill.
Passing exercises like this one demonstrates cooperation and communication between two or more navies, and also prepares ships for possible future multi-national efforts to ensure maritime security and regional stability. Amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) performed a similar passing exercise with the Egyptian navy April 7 in the Red Sea.
“Our passing exercise with the Egyptian Navy Ship Toushka provided a tremendous opportunity for both crews to meet and learn from each other,” said Cmdr. David Dry, Gravely’s commanding officer. “Cooperative events like today’s serve to improve and strengthen both of our nations’ maritime security capabilities.”
Before the exercise began, the ships from both nations participated in an officer exchange so that both sides could acquire a better understanding of the capabilities and methods of the other navy.
“The Egyptian crew was very helpful and professional,” said Lt. j.g. Natalie Ferbezar, training officer aboard Gravely. “It is always a great opportunity for both sides to train together and learn different methods and techniques.”
Egyptian personnel involved also felt that the combined training was valuable.
“This has been a very enjoyable learning experience for us,” said Egyptian navy Lt. Islam Marawan. “Gravely’s crew has both great seamanship and outstanding teamwork. I think both teams learned from the exercise.”
Gravely, homeported in Norfolk, Va., is on a scheduled deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility.
Press Release, May 22, 2013; Image: US Navy