US Army watercraft unit joins Navy drills in Persian Gulf

The USCGC “Maui” (WPB-1304), and the USS “Thunderbolt“ (PC-12) sail during a trilateral exercise in the Persian Gulf on July 25, 2017. Photo: US Navy

A U.S. Army watercraft unit based out of Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, took part in the U.S. Navy’s quarterly trilateral exercise in the Persian Gulf, from July 24-26, 2017.

The trilateral exercise incorporated the U.S. Army, Navy, and Coast Guard, along with the Kuwaiti Navy and Coast Guard, and Iraqi Navy.

The 548th Transportation Detachment played the role of a merchant vessel with their U.S. Army Logistics Support Vessel USAV “SP4 James A. Loux” (LSV-6).

They were to be escorted by the USS “Vella Gulf” (CG-72), a U.S. Navy Ticonderoga-class cruiser, the USS “Squall“ (PC-7), the USS “Thunderbolt“ (PC-12), both U.S. Navy Cyclone-class patrol (coastal) ships, and the USCGC “Maui” (WPB-1304), a U.S. Coast Guard Island-class Cutter, along with an Iraqi Navy, Kuwaiti Navy, and Kuwaiti Coast Guard patrol boats.

“We acted as a High Value Unit (HVU) and were directed to stay in a defensive posture, while being protected by the Navy, Coast Guard and Coalition forces,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Bryan Miki, vessel master of the “SP4 James A. Loux” (LSV-6), 548th TD. “I hope we establish greater communication relations between all of the forces out here with this exercise.”

As a large, slow moving vessel, LSV-6 is vulnerable to smaller, agile boats that want to steal their goods and needs protection while sailing in the Persian Gulf. The events performed in the trilateral exercise were all aimed at protection of the Army vessel and consisted of search and rescue, ship boarding and defensive navigational tactics drills.

The trilateral exercise was developed to replace two other exercises that included the Kuwaiti and Iraqi Navies separately. This being only the second event, the first exercise was conducted in March. The intent of the exercise is to build inter-operability and mutual capability relationships in the region between partner nations in the Persian Gulf.

“The trilateral engagement not only benefitted Coalition war ships by practicing their TTPs, but it provided Army mariners an opportunity to sail in tactical formations and sharpen their communication skills between multination forces,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thomas Allen, 1st TSC Support Operations – Mobility Sea Warrant.

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