USS CLEVELAND, At Sea (NNS) -- Brig. Gen. Moosa Ali Jaleel, Maldives National Defense Force's (MNDF) Quick Reaction Force (QRF) commanding general, visited the amphibious transport dock USS Cleveland (LPD 7), Dec. 18 during a joint training exercise with the MDNF.
Jaleel, along with a warrant officer and three enlisted members of the MNDF arrived on Cleveland's flight deck aboard a CH-46 helicopter from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 166 (reinforced), and toured the ship for nearly two hours. During the visit, Jaleel and his complement were treated to lunch, an introduction to life aboard, and an exchange of gifts with Cleveland's Commanding Officer, Capt. Billy Hart.
"It's a pleasure to host General Jaleel," said Hart. "Collectively, we're working to build interoperability and foster confidence between our two militaries. Good relations and familiarity between us will ultimately bolster global maritime security."
For the enlisted members of the delegation, the visit provided the opportunity to see a U.S. Navy ship for the first time.
"The Cleveland was the first ship these enlisted men have been on," said Command Master Chief (SW/SS) William Steele. "They were very impressed with the ship and its professional crew."
Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 11 embarked aboard Cleveland and crew members are participating in Exercise Coconut Grove, which is designed to enhance capabilities and interoperability between U.S. forces and the MNDF. This bilateral training focuses on squad and platoon level tactics and strengthening military to military relationships.
Naval medical and dental professionals from Cleveland are also working side-by-side with Maldivian Health Care personnel to enhance and augment the Maldivian Public Health Care System. Projects provided near term dental and ophthalmology treatment to the Maldivian people while providing training to Maldivian doctors in moderately complex procedures for the long term.
Cleveland's participation in this exercise emphasizes the amphibious capability and interoperability between U.S. and MNDF forces.
Cleveland, the Navy's oldest operating amphibious ship, is currently assigned to the Tarawa Expeditionary Strike Group. Embarked with Marines from the 11th Combat Logistics Battalion, Cleveland is currently on a scheduled deployment to the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.
For more news from USS Cleveland, visit www.navy.mil/local/lpd7/.