SOUDA BAY, Crete (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) hosted multinational service members from 10 countries for damage control training and demonstrations during Exercise Phoenix Express 2008 (PE 08) in Souda Bay on April 10.
In addition to the Nassau's crew, Sailors from the amphibious transport dock ship USS Nashville (LPD 13), the guided missile frigate USS John L. Hall (FFG 32), and multinational service members from nations around the Mediterranean Sea participated in the "Damage Control Olympics."
"Each team competes in damage control events to see who can get the best time," Nassau Damage Control Assistant Lt. Cmdr. Scott Gray said. "The real reward is the time spent together and collaborative efforts in training our multinational partners to learn these necessary skills."
Training events included relay races, operating portable fire pumps, and setting up de-smoking fans. There were also demonstrations showing the use of portable hydraulic access and rescue equipment and the self-contained breathing apparatus.
Damage Controlman 3rd Class Joseph Mendel, a member of the Nassau Flying Squad, said sharing information, techniques, and training practices among multinational partners is a critical part of PE 08.
"It's important to collaborate with all these countries because all of us have so many different ways to go about shipboard firefighting," Mendel said. "If there's a more efficient way to go about shipboard damage control, this exercise pools all of our thoughts together."
PE 08 is the third annual exercise in a long-term effort to enhance regional cooperation and maritime security. The principal aim is to increase interoperability by developing individual and collective maritime proficiencies of participating nations, as well as promoting friendship, mutual understanding and cooperation.
Exercises like PE 08 enable participants to advance information sharing which is crucial to maintaining a region free from transnational threats, as well as enhance capability to conduct multinational peacekeeping missions.
For more news from Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/esg8/.