ADRIATIC SEA (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) completed an Adriatic war-at-sea exercise (WASEX) with Albania in the Adriatic Sea, Feb. 7.
The Albanian Naval Brigade patrol vessel ALS Iliria (P 131) participated in the exercise, which included scenarios focusing on anti-small craft and maneuvering tactics.
"This was incredibly valuable training for all of our bridge watch standers," said Cmdr. Bryan S. Gallo, commanding officer of Ross. "You can only train so much on your own, and having another vessel participate in exercises such as this gives our Sailors a concrete idea of what to expect in a real-world scenario."
The exercise featured two surface exercises designed to help each country in detecting and avoiding other ships while underway.
During one surface exercise, Ross was tasked with getting from one designated location to another without being spotted by its Albanian counterpart. For the second exercise, each vessel conducted mock attacks on the other, with the primary focus being the execution of defensive ship-handling techniques by bridge watchstanders.
"Iliria played their part perfectly," said Lt. Robert Harris, Ross' plans and tactics officer. "Today we were able to further hone our ability to simultaneously maneuver and defend the ship from an attacker. That's not something that's easy to do, nor is it something a ship gets to practice very often."
"Exercises like this have been happening for years, but I'm always thrilled to be a part of them," said Gallo. "Adriatic WASEX and other exercises like it, exercises that let ships like Ross practice defensive maneuvering like we did today, are profoundly impactful for each country involved, lending toward increased understanding all around. I can't thank our partners in Albania enough for participating in this exercise with us."
Ross Sailors will have a chance to visit and speak with some of their Albanian counterparts in the coming days as the ship pulls in to Vlore, Albania, for a scheduled port visit.
Ross, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is currently conducting a routine patrol to support U.S. national security interests in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
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For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.