Live-fire exercise at sea
Uniformed service members and maritime police officers from four partner nations bolstered their maritime enforcement capabilities in a live-fire exercise off the Saint Lucia coast.
US strengthens ties with partner nations during live-fire exercise at sea
COAST GUARD CUTTER OAK, At Sea – Uniformed service members and maritime police officers from four partner nations bolstered their maritime enforcement capabilities Saturday in a live-fire gunnery exercise off the coast of Saint Lucia during Tradewinds 2013.
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oak, a seagoing buoy tender, provided the platform for a portion of the exercise. Crew members launched a bright, green buoy into the Caribbean Sea and the crew of the Dominican Republic’s GC 109 Orion took turns firing at the target from Oak’s forecastle.
U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Asad Hussain, a maritime enforcement specialist temporarily assigned to the Oak, provided instruction to students from the Dominican Republic in their native Spanish language.
“This is an opportunity to get out there, share some best practices and work on coordination,” said Hussain. “So if the day comes when we have to operate in a high-level offensive environment like this, we’ve already been exposed to each other and have the same operating parameters.”
Students took turns firing from port and starboard-mounted Browning M2 .50-caliber machine guns, which fire cartridges of ammunition approximately the diameter of C batteries. Hussain and instructors aboard neighboring police vessels helped familiarize 48 personnel with the weapons, to include coast guardsmen from Trinidad and Tobago and Saint Lucia’s maritime police force.
“The main goal of Tradewinds 2013 is cooperation between partner nations,” said Hussain.
“At the end of the day, we’re all mariners. We all do the same job. This gets us out spending time with each other and learning different aspects of our [respective] jobs to see how we can collaborate and try to gain some knowledge,” said Hussain.
Tradewinds is a joint and combined exercise conducted in conjunction with partner nations to enhance the collective abilities of defense forces and constabularies to counter transnational organized crime and to conduct humanitarian/disaster relief operations.