Ensuring maritime security and stability at the local level requires more than written agreements and handshakes. The mission requires skilled sailors who are familiar with operating their ships amid the region’s vast geography and harsh climate.
This week, sailors from the Royal Bahrain Naval Force joined the crew of the coastal patrol ship USS Chinook (PC 9) for a three-day professional exchange that ended September 21. Bahraini and American crew members discussed best practices in engineering, search and rescue, damage control and weapons handling during shore and sea training opportunities.
The Chinook’s operations officer, Lt. jg Elijah Jackowitz, found training at sea to be particularly beneficial.
“It has been eye-opening to work with our Bahraini partners,” said Jackowitz. “I learned from them as much as they learned from us. We were able to share how we operate while underway on deck and conduct boat operations, man overboard drills and gunfire – things we can do at sea.”
In March, Bahrain inaugurated five coastal patrol vessels in the Royal Bahrain Naval Force which were previously operated by the US Navy. Close ties between maritime forces enhance bilateral cooperation and interoperability.
During the first day of work with his Bahraini counterparts, Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Brian Miranda-Perez led a training event with a device on the ship called “J-bar”, which is used to hoist the staff out of the water.
“Coming from Puerto Rico, English is not my first language,” Miranda-Perez said. “I’m used to working with language barriers, so I tried to make the engagement as easy and interactive as possible. There were a lot of questions and everyone was very involved.
On day two, Nathan Rattelade, Gunner’s Mate 1st Class, discussed safe handling and firing techniques of shipboard weapons, including the MK 38 Mod 2 25mm machine gun system.
“I’ve been on other exchanges like this with the Royal Bahrain Naval Force,” Rattlelade said. “I think it helps solidify our relationships in the region, and it also helps me learn about other cultures.”
The last day of discussions focused on topics such as damage control and the management of hazardous materials on board a ship.
“It was great to be able to show them how we do business and get a glimpse of how they do business because we’re operating the same type of ship,” Jackowitz said. “We are based in their home country and I think the U.S. Navy is getting stronger as we strengthen our partnerships throughout the region.”