US, Iraq, Kuwait naval forces stage Persian Gulf drill

Kuwait Subahi-class patrol boat Naif (P312) (foreground) and coastal patrol ship USS Hurricane (PC 3) maneuver into position for maritime infrastructure protection drills during a trilateral exercise with Iraq and Kuwait. Photo: US Navy

US Navy and Coast Guard units joined Iraqi Navy and Kuwait Naval Force and Coast Guard vessels for a trilateral exercise (TRILAT) in the Persian Gulf.

The exercise concluded on February 22 and was the third of its kind executed since March 2017.

The exercise was led by Task Force (TF 55) and is part of a scheduled theater security cooperation engagement plan and an opportunity for the three partner nations to identify and address regional threats in support of stability and freedom of navigation in the US 5th Fleet area of operations.

“The TRILAT demonstrated a high degree of tactical interoperability and close relations among the US, Kuwait and Iraq,” said Lt. j.g. Tim Caucutt, TF 55 force protection officer. “Through a series of high-speed exercises, participating nations sharpened their collective warfighting skills and ability to keep the Arabian Gulf open for commerce.”

Coastal patrol ships USS Tempest (PC 2), USS Hurricane (PC 3), USS Firebolt (PC 10), Island-class patrol boat USCGC Baranof (WPB 1318), Iraqi offshore support vessel Al Basra (401) and Kuwait Subahi-class patrol boat Naif (P312) participated in the exercise, focusing on search-and-rescue operations, maritime infrastructure protection operations and high value unit protection operations.

“We learn a lot from these exercises,” said Iraqi Navy 1st Lt. Ahmad Gabar, second mate of Al Basra. “We enjoy the opportunity to practice search-and-rescue and other operations we don’t get to do every day.”

“Any opportunity to work with other nations is a great benefit to the crew,” said Lt. Cmdr. Richard Mayer, Hurricane’s commanding officer. “When we learn to work together at sea, improve our interoperability and expose the crew to other nations and cultures through exercises like this one, we ensure that all participants are read to meet any future challenge together.”

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