By Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs<br /> <br /> NAPLES, Italy - Exercise Reliant Mermaid 2012, between the U.S. Navy and Israeli Naval Force, concluded in Haifa, Israel, Aug. 16.<br /> <br /> Reliant Mermaid, in its 11th iteration, is an annual search and rescue exercise designed to increase interoperability by developing individual and collective maritime proficiencies of participating nations, as well as promoting friendship, mutual understanding and cooperation.<br /> <br /> During the exercise, eight Israeli sailors embarked aboard Jason Dunham to observe the exercise events and conduct training with U.S. sailors, which included live-fire exercises, a vertical replenishment, and night time search and rescue exercises conducted by U.S. and Israeli vessels.<br /> <br /> “This was a successful exercise which strengthened the bonds between the U.S. and Israeli navies and increased our ability to work together as a team,” said Cmdr. David A. Bretz, commanding officer of Jason Dunham. “The Jason Dunham team was proud to be a part of Reliant Mermaid 2012. We've enjoyed our time in Israel and the valuable experience of working with our partners in the Israeli navy.”<br /> <br /> Training with other military forces enhances mutual awareness and maritime capability of partner nations. Reliant Mermaid helped create an environment that promoted maritime safety and security in the region, and interoperability between Israel and the U.S.<br /> <br /> “It was really great to get to see the differences between our navy and the U.S.,” said Israeli navy Cpl. Niv Bar Ilan. “We learned a lot about how the U.S. navy operates differently and how the Sailors all have individual jobs onboard. It was great and we are very appreciative of the Jason Dunham crew's hospitality.”<br /> <br /> U.S. Navy participation in the exercise included the guided-missile destroyers USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), fleet replenishment oiler USNS John Lenthall (T-AO 109), and a P-3 aircraft from Patrol Squadron 9 out of Honolulu, Hawaii.<br /> <br /> Reliant Mermaid is a regularly scheduled exercise and is not associated with, or a reaction to any real world events.<br /> <br /> U.S. 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.