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    US joint forces participate in Kuwaiti bilateral exercise



    Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Torrey Lee 

    Commander Task Force 56

    ARABIAN GULF - Coastal riverine units, assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 56.7, participated in a combined-joint bilateral exercise with Kuwaiti naval forces in the Arabian Gulf.

    Kuwaiti naval forces, participating U.S. Army, Coast Guard, and Navy assets came together to conduct a simulated hostile interception at sea.

    “Our expectation was to interact with our regional partner in order to increase interoperability,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Tim McAllister, the exercise’s naval liaison. “It really helps to better our understanding and develop our combined capabilities. It increases our ability to react in a real-world scenario.”

    Coastal Riverine Squadron 3 (CRS 3), currently assigned to CTF 56.7, initiated the exercise with an in-role scenario of responding to an incident in the Arabian Gulf. Acting as an interception asset, CRS 3 deployed a quick-reaction team to engage the target.

    “Time is a huge factor for us,” said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Nieves Medrano, a riverine command boat coxswain assigned to CRS 3. “From the first moments we get the call, we have 30 minutes to get to our site, prep the boat, and get underway. Any longer, and you miss the interception, and the target has gotten away.”

    The combined-joint exercise provided U.S. forces an opportunity to exchange tactics about open-sea interceptions with Kuwait naval forces. Interceptions are an option for sea-services to utilize in combating human-trafficking, drug trafficking, and smuggling. However, the main purpose of interception is to respond to hostile activities at sea.

    The two countries were able to employ their sea services in conjunction with air-support, via Apache helicopters.

    “Whether on land with boots on the ground, or over water with our Apaches, we are always eager to train with our Kuwaiti partners. If it involves guns and rockets, you definitely don’t have to ask us twice,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Fernando Rincon, the exercise’s Army liaison. “Our ability to conduct combined-joint training is important, because it strengthens our skills while pushing us to think outside the box. We build trust and learn from the other services as well as nations.”

    Two AH64D Apache helicopters, assigned to U.S. Army Charlie Troop Heavy Cav, and two Kuwaiti Apache assets provided air-support in the scenario. It’s a tactic that shows force and causes deterrence, said Rincon.

    “When our ground guys see an Apache in the sky, they know that the bad guys are afraid,” said Rincon.

    After the two countries’ sea services exercised an escalation force, the Apaches were called in. Utilizing inflatable targets in the water, the countries conducted airstrikes to conclude the training.

    “I feel like this exercise was a success, and both of our nations really got something out of it,” said McAllister. “We value our relationship and understand the necessity of our countries working together.”

    CTG 56.7 conducts maritime security operations to ensure freedom of movement for strategic shipping and naval vessels operating in the inshore and coastal areas of the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.



    Date Taken: 11.03.2015
    Date Posted: 12.14.2015 04:46
    Story ID: 184405
    Location: ARABIAN GULF, AT SEA

    Web Views: 29
    Downloads: 0