USS RUSSELL, At Sea (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59) participated in Exercise Khunjar Haad, a four-day multinational exercise conducted in the Gulf of Oman, May 17-21.
During the exercise, FS Surcouf (F 711), HMS Montrose (F 236), RFA Waveknight (A 389) and four other coalition ships conducted air defense, surface, visit, board, search and seizure and joint gunnery exercises, which focused on joint interoperability training and proficiency.
"Working with our coalition partners allows us to improve our tactical proficiency as well as encouraging friendship and cooperation in the region," said Cmdr. Jeff Weston, Russell's commanding officer.
Russell Sailors also engaged in personnel exchanges with coalition ships during Khunjar Haad.
"Our Sailors had the chance to meet and interact with our coalition partners on a personal basis," Weston said. "I know from personal experience, no exercise can cement a bond like meeting and working with our maritime partners face to face. This exercise allowed us to do just that."
Electronics Technician 3rd Class Tyler Kirkland spent time visiting two coalition ships.
"This was the best experience I've had in my naval career," he said. "I really enjoyed visiting these ships."
Russell was also honored to receive a visit from senior coalition military leaders, which underscored the importance of personal interaction.
"It was a great opportunity to participate first hand in exercising the concept of a 1,000 ship coalition navy," Weston said. "We made personal relationships that will last well into the future and make interactions between the participating nations that much easier in the future."
Russell is currently deployed as part of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, which is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to support Maritime Security Operations. These operations help develop security in the maritime environment, which promotes stability and global prosperity. These operations complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
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