NORFOLK (NNS) -- Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HST CSG) hosted foreign naval liaison officers (LNO) during its recent Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 09-4 Sept. 14-22.
JTFEX is a scenario-driven tactical exercise that focused on major combat operations for the HST CSG. Just like real-world operations, this exercise required the strike group to work with allies and partners. This coalition force included 13 foreign ships from nine nations.
In addition to working with foreign ships and units, HST CSG embarked several foreign LNOs into the training exercise.
"One part is making sure that the tasks given to my ships by the staff are well understood and conducted," said Cmdr. Bud Boots, Royal Netherlands Navy. "Another aspect is making sure that the staff understands what my ships are doing."
Because of the diversity of the coalition and the complexity of the exercise, effective communication was essential. LNOs, embarked on USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), were responsible for ensuring that everyone was on the same page.
"There is always a slight difference in procedures, code words and modes of operation," said Boots. "The job of an LNO during these exercises is to sort out those differences."
The training exercise was a vital certification event during HST CSG's preparations to deploy; however, it also served as a valuable training opportunity for all the nations involved.
"The exercise was well organized and well equipped," said Boots. "It was a challenging, realistic scenario with a chance to deliver great training."
Participating countries included Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States. Some of the participating units included Canadian ship HMCS Fredericton (FFG 337), Brazilian ship BNS Liberale (F43), Italian submarine ITS Scire (S527), and Royal Netherlands ships HNLMS Tromp (F803) and HNLMS Van Speijk (F828).
JTFEX 09-4 also marked the first ever inclusion of the Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 1, which includes Danish ocean patrol vessel HDMS Thetis (F357), Belgian coastal minehunter BNS Lobelia (M921), Royal Netherlands minehunter HNLMS Urk (M861), Estonian minehunter ENS Sakala (M314), British minesweeper HMS Quorn, and Royal Norwegian minesweeper KNM Rauma (M352).
In today's diverse maritime environment, international cooperation is becoming more important than ever before. LNOs' focus is essential to successful operations.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.