Iraqi Navy trains with US Task Force 55

Sailors from the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Russel and U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Monomoy worked with an Iraqi Navy Swift Boat (P-310) to conduct a surface warfare exercise in the Arabian Gulf, February 14-15.

The exercise provided a surface warfare experience by exchanging subject matter experts (SME) and conducting live-fire exercises in a tactical environment.

Lt.j.g. Samuel Ross, a bilateral liaison assigned to Commander, Task Force 55, said: “The goal of this exercise is to build interoperability and work together with Iraq. The relationships we build through these bilaterals are what allow the Navy to grow and be able to operate in the Arabian Gulf.”

U.S. forces in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations have been conducting various Iraqi bilateral exercises over the past 18 months. Each exercise introduces a variety of elements from surface and air warfare, to visit, board, search, seizures (VBSS) and interdiction operations.

During the two-day exercise, coalition forces performed weapons synchronization, maritime infrastructure protection exercises (MIPEX), and combined-joint gun exercises.

Lt. Andrew Corwell, U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia’s current operations officer, said: “MIPEX provides an opportunity to practice our force protection tactics with joint and international partners. The U.S. Coast Guard understands coastal operations, and this helps our ability to interact with various navies and coast guards in this area that are uses to these coastal environments.”

Coalition partners completed live-fire exercises, from basic to more advanced operations. The U.S. Navy said the three ships involved were capable of integrating formation tactics in targeting a simulated surface contact.


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