ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- Twenty four Sailors assigned to the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) participated in a "cross deck" event with personnel assigned to the French Horizon-Class destroyer FS Chevalier Paul (D621), while deployed in the Arabian Gulf, Jan. 13-17.
Cross decking is an exchange which allows sailors from both navies to experience life aboard a foreign vessel, as well as learn from coalition partners operating together.
"We cross deck to foster good working relationships between our allies," said Lt. Michael Kumm, assigned to aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). "It gives the Sailors a chance to see something that they've never experienced. It's a good deal to check out another ship and see what it's like to sail with them."
Kumm added that learning about U.S. coalition partners helps build a common understanding of what each Navy's mission is and how it is executed together.
"It shows that we have the ability to work together effectively in a time of war," said Kumm. "It gives us the ability to demonstrate that we're working together and we're operating out here together."
Lt. Cmdr. Scott Sulich, assigned to Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, added that the cross deck fostered easier integration between navies, increased understanding of foreign platforms, and demonstrated a multilateral commitment to the fight against violent extremists.
"The French sent their ship to the Arabian Gulf to contribute to maritime security in the region," said Sulich. "They're a NATO partner and one of our oldest allies. That continued international cooperation is really important because it gives both countries a peace of mind in that we can both count on each other's forces in whatever situation we may need."
Chevalier Paul is currently under command CSG9 for a three week period, and they serve the same role as many of the other destroyers in the Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group.
"Their role is to defend the flag ship, which is us, and they are very cognizant of that," said Lt. j.g. Christopher Hallissy, assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23. "Our mission on TR is to launch planes into a combat zone and finish whatever mission calls for us out here. Their mission is to help defend the TR. They are usually only a couple miles away from us at any given time, just like the other ships from CSG9."
While aboard Chevalier Paul, U.S. Sailors toured the ship's bridge, foc'sle, combat systems spaces, state rooms, lounge areas, and food services.
"I felt like my favorite part may have been the meal, but interacting with the sailors there was really great too," said Hallissy. "They were all super welcoming and friendly. The French sailors seemed really fired up. They seemed happy to be here and happy to help in whatever capacity they were needed."
This cross deck event was one of many training opportunities that TRCSG Sailors will experience during the current deployment in the Arabian Gulf, said Sulich.
"In the near future, we're going to continue to expand the opportunity to cross deck Sailors and see what it's like to be on another country's ship," said Sulich. "I just hope they have the event of a lifetime."
The Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group's deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supports Operation Inherent Resolve and signals the continued commitment to defeat and destroy ISIS. In addition to anti-ISIS missions, the strike group is conducting maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners, preserve freedom of navigation, and maintain the free flow of commerce.
Theodore Roosevelt, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, is currently underway with USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), USS Halsey (DDG 97), USS Sampson (DDG 102) and USS Preble (DDG 88) for a routine deployment. The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group deployment is an example of the U.S. Navy's routine presence in waters around the globe, displaying commitment to stability, regional cooperation and economic prosperity for all nations.
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