By U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs
| September 09, 2018
ARABIAN GULF (Sept. 11, 2018) Engineman 1st Class Marcus Boley mans a .50-caliber machine gun aboard a Mark VI patrol boat assigned to Task Force 56 during Mine Countermeasures Exercise (MCMEX) 18-3. MCMEX is the premier quarterly mine countermeasures exercise in the Middle East, and is conducted with the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy to increase interoperability and demonstrate the shared commitment to ensuring unfettered maritime operations. U.S. 5th Fleet and coalition assets are participating in numerous simultaneous exercises as part of the greater Theater Counter Mine and Maritime Security Exercise to ensure maritime stability and security in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points. (Photo by MC2 Samantha P. Montenegro)
The multi-faceted exercise is being conducted to ensure maritime stability and security in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic chokepoints.
“Cooperative security ensures cooperative prosperity, and these collective exercises conducted with our partners and allies allow us to practice the full spectrum of naval operations,” said Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. 5th Fleet. “This demonstration of naval maneuver, posture and partnership reassures the international community that we will ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, anywhere, anytime.”
U.S. 5th Fleet assets are currently leading the Theater Amphibious Combat Rehearsal (TACR) 18 and Mine Countermeasures Exercise (MCMEX) 18-3, and participating in Bright Star 18. Later this month, coastal patrol ships attached to U.S. 5th Fleet’s Task Force 55 will conduct a MK-60 Griffin surface-to-surface missile and naval gun exercises against high speed maneuvering targets
Taking place in Djibouti, TACR enhances readiness for littoral and mine countermeasures capabilities inherent to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team to preserve freedom of movement through the critical choke point of the Bab al Mandeb.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64), Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team (FASTCENT), a Task Force 55 VBSS team and a Task Force 56 expeditionary mine countermeasures company are participating in Bright Star 18, centralized around joint regional security and cooperation in conventional and irregular warfare scenarios near the critical choke point of the Suez Canal.
MCMEX 18-3, an exercise conducted between the U.S. and United Kingdom quarterly, enhances cooperation, mutual mine countermeasure capabilities and interoperability, demonstrating the shared commitment of ensuring unfettered operations of naval, support and commercial vessels throughout the maritime domain.
Five coastal patrol ships forward-deployed to Bahrain will conduct surface warfare training in the Arabian Gulf to enhance their ability to defend minesweepers and other coastal patrol ships by executing a MK-60 Griffin missile exercise and gunnery exercise.
U.S. 5th Fleet also welcomes the arrival of the F-35B to theater, as part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group. The introduction of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft allows U.S. Central Command to approach missions from a position of strength, providing air and maritime superiority to ensure security at sea and on land.
These combined exercises illustrate that the U.S. and our partners stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever international law allows.