Qatar, U.S. Conclude Eastern Sailor 19

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Samantha P. Montenegro | November 18, 2018

ARABIAN GULF -- The U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and Qatari Emiri Naval Forces completed Eastern Sailor 19, Nov. 7.

Eastern Sailor 19 is an annual, bilateral surface exercise between the U.S. Navy and the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces serving to expand levels of cooperation between the U.S. Navy and Qatari Forces to build strength through partnerships.

The exercise was led by Task Force (TF) 55 and is part of a routine theater security cooperation engagement plan and serves as an opportunity to strengthen tactical proficiency in critical mission areas and support long term regional stability.

Guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73), Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship USS Sirocco (PC 6), U.S. Coast Guard Island-class patrol cutter USCGC Monomoy (WPB 1326), Qatari Emiri Naval Forces missile boats; Q04, Q07, a Qatari gun boat and two Qatari fast boats worked together during the exercise.

Cmdr. Bob Bowen, Decatur’s commanding officer said he was proud to be part of the exercise, and appreciated the opportunity to work with the Qatari Emiri Naval Forces.
“Eastern Sailor 19 provided a valuable training opportunity that allowed both U. S. and Qatari forces to operate and learn from each other while building relationships,” said Bowen.

The exercise included small-boat attack; visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS); division tactics and maritime infrastructure protection.

Operations Specialist 1st Class John Cranek, a member of the Decatur VBSS team, appreciated his opportunity to train alongside the Qatari forces.

“It was a great experience to be able to conduct VBSS drills with the Qatari navy,” said Cranek. “Opportunities likes these to train with our regional partners are unique. I am grateful to have been a part of the exercise and for the chance to work with another navy.”

U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse comprises 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal, and the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.