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    Distinguished Visitors, U.S. Navy Admiral, Embark JS Bungo and RFA Cardigan Bay as part of IMX 19

    Distinguished Visitors, U.S. Navy Admiral, Embark JS Bungo and RFA Cardigan Bay as part of IMX 19

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Okula | 191104-N-HP195-1649 ARABIAN GULF (Nov. 4, 2019) Petty Officer 2nd Class Troy J.K....... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Okula 

    U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet

    ARABIAN GULF (NNS) – An assembly of 27 civilians and military leaders from 15 different nations joined Vice Adm. James Malloy, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces, for a tour Monday aboard two ships conducting simulated counter-mine operations around the Arabian Peninsula as part of International Maritime Exercise 2019 (IMX 19).

    Visitors included dignitaries and representatives from the nations of Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, France, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.

    The group departed in the morning from Naval Support Activity Bahrain aboard an MH-53E Sea Dragon assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 (HM-15).

    Within an hour, the helicopter landed on the deck of mine sweeper tender JS Bungo (MST-464), belonging to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), where crew members welcomed the visitors and escorted them to the bow of the ship for a group photograph.

    Later, inside the ship’s ward room, visitors were given a presentation about Bungo’s mission and role in IMX 19 by JMSDF Capt. Seiji Ikubo, commander of the counter-mine strike group.

    After the presentation, the group toured various spaces, to include the ship’s bridge, machine control room, counter-mine operations room, diver decompression chamber, and well deck.

    The group returned to the ward room where Malloy expressed his gratitude for the expansion of capabilities permitted by JS Bungo and the United Kingdom’s landing ship dock RFA Cardigan Bay (L3009), which is also participating in IMX 19.

    “We are very blessed to have these two types of ships out here with us,” Malloy said. “The U.S. has no capability like this. [These vessels] can act as a mothership for maritime security operations, enabling a flotilla of smaller ships to remain at sea for extended periods without concern for fuel, food, or repairs … All three parts of our [maritime security] triangle.”

    Malloy added that the counter-mine mission is only part of an expanding mission set for this sixth iteration of IMX, now the second largest maritime exercise, designed to encompass the full spectrum of maritime security.

    “It is the ultimate coalition operation of all,” Malloy said. “And more than ever, the security of the Arabian Gulf and the Arabian Sea is being managed and led by the [regional] navies,” Malloy said, citing the leadership role exemplified by Royal Saudi Naval Forces’ Rear Adm. Abdullah Al-Shammary, deputy commander of IMX 19.

    Visitors then left JS Bungo in three waves aboard two MH-60 Sea Hawk flights and a second MH-53E, both bound for RFA Cardigan Bay, where guests received a luncheon.

    Both ship visits were intended by exercise planners to help representatives from various nations and partner organizations better understand the scope of this latest exercise, which has grown to include simulated visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) procedures, explosive ordnance disposal, and afloat forward staging base operations, in addition to the legacy focus on mine countermeasures and maritime patrol force operations.

    IMX 19 is a multinational engagement involving partners and allies from around the world designed to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experiences across the full spectrum of defensive maritime operations.

    The exercise serves to demonstrate global resolve in maintaining regional security and stability, freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce from the Suez Canal south to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait through the Strait of Hormuz to the Northern Arabian Gulf.



    Date Taken: 11.04.2019
    Date Posted: 11.07.2019 09:56
    Story ID: 350653
    Hometown: SILVER SPRING, MD, US

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