U.S., British Navies Conduct Maritime Security Drills in South China Sea

The U.S. Navy Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler, USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200) and the Royal Navy Type 23 Duke class frigate, HMS Montrose (F236) conducted maritime security and logistics training in the South China Sea, Feb. 18.

The drills involved Royal Marine commandos, Royal Navy sailors and Guadalupe crew members. During a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) scenario, Montrose’s boarding team embarked and secured Guadalupe, which simulated a vessel engaged in high seas trafficking. The ships also practiced replenishment at sea using NATO procedures, which ensured that the two ships, despite never having working together before, could safely and efficiently transfer fuel while underway.

“This was a valuable exercise for us, keeping our integrated Royal Navy and Royal Marines boarding team sharp and ready to deliver any mission assigned to them,” said Cmdr. Conor O’Neill, commanding officer of HMS Montrose. “That we were able to achieve this training, and the replenishment drills afterwards, is testament to the close working relationship between the Royal and United States Navies, both in the Pacific and globally.”

“It helps expand our capabilities and I believe it helps them, as well,” said Eric Naranjo, civilian mariner chief mate aboard Guadalupe. “It’s important because if you don’t practice these scenarios, you won’t have the skills necessary to succeed when the time comes.”

This is the third cooperative deployment between the U.S Navy and the Royal Navy in as many months. USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and HMS Argyll (F231) operated together in the South China Sea in January, and a trilateral anti-submarine warfare exercise was held between the U.S. Navy, Royal Navy, and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Dec. 21-22.

Guadalupe, the 14th Henry J. Kaiser-class replenishment oiler, is conducting routine operations, providing logistical support to U.S. Navy and allied forces operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

MC1 Greg Johnson, CTF-73



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