USS BULKELEY, At Sea (NNS) -- The visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team aboard guided missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) had the opportunity to work with several Coast Guard Advance Interdiction Team (AIT) members April 16 during the past month of their 2011 deployment in the Gulf of Aden.
The AIT was brought aboard Bulkeley to further train their team while supporting maritime operations underway with the Bulkeley's VBSS team.
Prior to deployment, VBSS team members were trained in non-compliant boardings, close quarter combat, ladder climbing techniques, room clearing procedures, and several other tactics necessary for conducting maritime operations in foreign waters. The team was thoroughly prepared to accept any challenge they were faced with.
"We were aware that the Coast Guard team was coming to work with us, but we did not know what their professional capabilities were. We were thrilled that we could be of service to them by helping them conduct more in depth training aboard our ship," said Ensign Seymour, Team leader of the VBSS team aboard Bulkeley.
VBSS and AIT members were finally given the opportunity to work together during an Approach and Visit operation in the Gulf of Oman. The two teams split up on two separate Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB) and set out to communicate with local fisherman.
"We were able to see first hand how each branch's techniques differ from another. It was definitely an excellent example of how we all might wear different uniforms and do different jobs, but we can all come together to support one cause", said Ensign Jack Curran, Boarding officer of VBSS team.
"Coast Guard AIT members are more familiar with coastal operations. The AIT has been able to tap into the VBSS members expeditionary abilities and we can bring what we learn back to the States," said Lieutenant John Laraia, Team leader of AIT aboard Bulkeley.
All AIT members are from the Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT) in Virginia and are currently all on deployment as a team. Their main training background consists of counter-narcotic type law enforcement. On the Bulkeley however, they serve the main purpose of conducting law enforcement type operations such as legally documenting and supporting counter-piracy missions, boarding, interceptions for prosecutions and any other type of mission the Bulkeley VBSS team members are tasked to accomplish.
"Working with the VBSS team gives us the opportunity to broaden our horizons. With joint branch operations under our belts, we are now more comfortable with working with other branches and can learn from this chance to work with the Sailors," said Maritime Enforcement Specialist Christopher Mieding.
The AIT team is not expected to stay aboard Bulkeley much longer, however, all members have made it evident each team can learn from one another and take away valuable lessons for working with other US Military branches.
Bulkeley is on a routine deployment conducting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. Enterprise Strike Group consists of Bulkeley, USS Enterprise (CVN 65), the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), the guided-missile destroyers USS Barry (DDG 52) and USS Mason (DDG 87); USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8), Carrier Air Wing 1 and Destroyer Squadron 2.
For more news from USS Enterprise (CVN 65), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn65/.