IMCMEX: USS Gridley Carries Out VBSS aboard HMS Bulwark

Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101) conducted visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) training aboard the royal navy amphibious assault ship HMS Bulwark (L15), as part of the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX), Nov. 10.

IMCMEX, organized and led by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT)/U.S. 5th Fleet, is the world’s largest naval exercise, including 44 participating nations from six continents, and is an opportunity for more than 6,500 personnel from navies around the world to hone the intricate defensive techniques necessary to search for and dispose of mines.

During the exercise, two teams in rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB) approached the Bulwark, a simulated pirate vessel, from its port side and boarded the ship. Once aboard, the team held a safety brief with Bulwark personnel. The VBSS team used their training to clear and secure a simulated engineering space as well as the ship’s bridge.

Electronics Technician 2nd Class Brian Hodson, a Gridley VBSS team member, said ensuring that the team safely secured the vessel was the most critical aspect of the training.

Weeks of training and preparation ensured that Gridley VBSS members were capable of conducting each aspect of the exercise.

Ens. Elizabeth Young, Gridley’s gunnery officer, said:

The Gridley VBSS team has trained weekly prior to this event. This exercise is another step in maintaining their readiness for real-world incidents.

The exercise allowed an opportunity for both countries to share and hone training tactics and techniques to share with their assigned navies.

Gridley is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.

Press release, Image: US Navy

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