U.S. Navy sailors on destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) participated in a series of training exercises with Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Charlottetown (FFH 339), July 27.
The exercise included a short term crew exchange which sent Nitze sailors to Charlottetown while Nitze hosted Charlottetown sailors.
The exercise offered a glimpse into the operations of a different ship performing a similar mission in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
"We are a lot more alike than I thought we would be," said Engineman 2nd Class Michael Graham, a Sailor assigned to Nitze. "They basically run their ship the same way we do. If we work together operationally, I would have a better understanding of what they are doing on their ship."
The visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team assigned to Nitze spent time practicing maneuvering, apprehension and detainee handling aboard Charlottetown while their Canadian counterparts, the naval boarding party assigned to Charlottetown, conducted the same training aboard Nitze.
"It was a great experience," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Justin Williams, a member of Nitze's VBSS team. "I enjoyed watching their team operate. If we get to work with their team in the future, we will be able to work together more effectively."
Following the boarding exercise, the ships conducted a passing exercise (PASSEX). A PASSEX is meant to strengthen the ability to maneuver the ships and increase interoperability, a valuable training opportunity for junior officers aboard each ship.
"This exercise with Charlottetown helps to increase our awareness of each other's capabilities," said Cmdr. Christopher Nerad, Nitze commanding officer. "We were successful in sharing ideas, tactics and procedures that we are sure to execute if we work together within the coalition. I look forward to working closely with our Canadian partners as we continue to provide a measure of maritime security in this region."
Nitze is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.