US Navy, PLAN Conduct Joint Counter Piracy Exercise in Gulf of Aden
guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) participated in a counter
piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden with elements of the Chinese People's
Liberation Army (Navy) (PLA(N)), Aug. 24-25. Mason joined Chinese destroyer
Harbin (DDG 112) and Chinese auxiliary replenishment oiler Weishanhu
(AO 887) to conduct a series of evolutions including combined visit,
board, search and seizure (VBSS), live-fire proficiency, and aviation
operations to enhance bilateral interoperability in the U.S. 5th Fleet
area of responsibility (AOR).
and U.S. soldiers participate in the counter-piracy exercise in the
Gulf of Aden, Aug. 25, 2013. The Chinese and U.S. navies conducted a
joint counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday and Sunday.(Xinhua/Rao
U.S. Navy and People's Liberation Army (Navy) share a common interest
in preserving legitimate mariners' access to, and secure use of, the
maritime domain by deterring, disrupting and suppressing piracy,"
said Vice Adm. John Miller, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command
(NAVCENT), U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces. "Both regional
and global security environments call for practical cooperation between
navies, and this exercise demonstrates a cooperative effort by the U.S.
and China to address common maritime security challenges."
The Chinese oiler played the role of a pirated vessel as VBSS teams
from both Mason and Harbin performed two boardings as a combined unit.
The U.S.-Chinese team successfully completed the VBSS evolutions that
included mock medical emergency and hostage scenarios.
"Watching U.S. and Chinese sailors working side by side was amazing,"
said Cmdr. Wilson Marks, Mason's commanding officer. "We may come
from different places and speak different languages, but at the end
of the day, we all share a common interest in protecting the maritime
OF ADEN (Aug. 24, 2013) Lt. j.g. Jeffrey Fasoli, gunnery officer aboard
the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87), discusses techniques
with Chinese sailors aboard the People's Liberation Army (Navy) destroyer
Harbin (DDG 112) prior to a combined small-arms exercise. Mason is deployed
in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation
efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo
by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Rob Aylward/Released)
ships applied synchronized maneuvering techniques during a live-fire
exercise involving an inflatable target. Mason and Harbin successfully
engaged the target with the 5-inch MK-45 lightweight gun and 3.9-inch
ENG-2 deck gun.
U.S. and PLA(N) helicopters also conducted cross-deck landing qualifications.
These were the first ever such exchanges in which the U.S. and Chinese
forces practiced interoperability in a major exercise.
The two navies prepared for this event for months. The Commodore of
the U.S. task force assigned with the planning and execution expressed
how important and beneficial the training was.
"I am truly pleased with what we accomplished during this exercise.
Our combined success demonstrated that our two navies can work together
to achieve a common goal," said Capt. Joseph Naman, commander,
Task Force 55. "Our partnership and cooperation are essential to
stability in not only this region but globally as well."
The first bilateral counter piracy exercise ever conducted between the
U.S. and Chinese navies occurred near the Horn of Africa with USS Winston
S. Churchill (DDG 81) and PLA(N) frigate Yi Yang (FF 548), September
Mason is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR conducting maritime security
operations and theater security cooperation efforts.
U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility encompasses about 2.5 million
square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman,
Gulf of Aden, North Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea. The expanse comprises
20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait
of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern
tip of Yemen.
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Rob Aylward, USS Mason Public