Ships and personnel from the US, Spain, Germany and France concluded the four-day Smart Defense Exercise (SMARTEX) on September 28.
SMARTEX is a NATO initiative designed to enhance interoperability and training between participating countries.
During the exercise, Spanish sailors embarked aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) to observe exercise events and train with US sailors, which included live-fire exercises, fast-inshore attack craft drills, air-defense exercises, anti-submarine drills and visit, board, search and seizure exercises on US and Spanish vessels.
Five Carney sailors also had the opportunity to spend a day on the Spanish frigate ESPS Mendez Nunez (F104). Aboard Nunez, Spanish sailors demonstrated to their American counterparts their daily routines and operating procedures.
“Watching the Spanish sailors work aboard Nunez was very insightful,” said Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Lonniel Nelson. “I think this was a very valuable opportunity for the Sailors of both countries.”
Training with other military forces enhances mutual awareness and maritime capability of partner nations. SMARTEX helped create an environment that promoted maritime safety and security in the region, and interoperability between Spain and the US.
“SMARTEX was a rare opportunity to operate alongside our Spanish partners, conducting complex training and robust operations amid multi-axis threats,” said Cmdr. Tyson Young, commanding officer of Carney. “Both Carney and Mendez Nunez benefitted greatly from the exercise in both planning and tactical execution; truly emphasizing the ability of both navies to work seamlessly together.”
US 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts a full range of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation missions in concert with coalition, joint, interagency, and other parties in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.