USS DOYLE, At Sea (NNS) -- The guided-missile frigate USS Doyle (FFG 39) and the Dutch Amsterdam-class fast combat support ship HMNLS Amsterdam (A 836) conducted a multi-event Passing Exercise (PASSEX) Aug. 28 as both ships were in vicinity of Willemstad, Curacao.
Events included small boat operations, a personnel cross deck, alongside approaches, connected replenishment at sea, Helicopter Deck landing Qualifications with Amsterdam's Lynx helicopter.
Doyle's Commanding Officer Cmdr. John Zuzich said multinational operations such as this, can only benefit Doyle's crew and the Navy as a whole.
"Anytime we have a chance to work with our partner nations it improves our confidence in each other and our interoperability," said Zuzich. "So when we conduct multinational operations or joint operations it is very seamless and we come together effectively. This operation was a perfect example of that."
As part of the operations, Amsterdam requested testing of their NATO fuel probe to ensure proper operation prior to the ship participating in upcoming PANAMAX 2009 exercise. Doyle was able to accommodate the request, and received over 2000 gallons of fuel from Amsterdam.
Deck department Sailors also had the unique opportunity of simulating a Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) with the Amsterdam's helicopter.
These operations were important to Amsterdam in preparation to support the 12 multinational ships that will be operating in the Caribbean as part of PANAMAX 09.
After the CONREP, Zuzich also had the chance to spend a few hours aboard the Amsterdam and witness a first-hand view of life aboard a Dutch ship.
"It was very nice to be able to spend some time with the CO of their ship and talk about just how much we have in common. When we're able to work with our friends, like the Dutch, it can only bring us closer together, it helps us to operate together and improve upon our friendship." said Zuzich.
Sailors from the Amsterdam also had a chance to cross-deck to the Doyle. One Dutch sailor, from Amsterdam's Administration department, Able-body Seaman Deen Polman said this was his second time conducting a CONREP with an American ship, but his first time viewing it from the American ship.
"Normally I stay over there to help the guys, but this time I was here and it was very fun to watch," said Polman. "Multinational events such as the Passing Exercise and PANAMAX are a very good idea and concept. It can only benefit the world to work together as a team."
Doyle is on a six-month deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean as part of Southern Seas 2009 in support of U.S. Southern Command's Partnership of the Americas Maritime Strategy. Southern Seas focuses on working with partner nations in the region conducting exercises, military to military engagements, and theater security cooperation engagements to enhance interoperability. This year's deployment includes Doyle, USS Kauffman (FFG 59) and USS Ford (FFG 54), and is executed by DESRON 40 as CTG 40.0.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.