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U.S. Coast Guard, Iraqi Navy Participate in PASSEX Exercise

By Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Hoskins, Commander, Task Group 56.1 Public Affairs | October 03, 2016

ARABIAN SEA (Sept. 27, 2016) - U.S. Coast Guard and Iraqi Navy participated in a Passing Exercise (PASSEX) on Sept. 27 in the Arabian Gulf.


U.S. Coast Guard Island-class patrol cutter USCGC Maui (WPB 1304) and USCGC Wrangell (WPB-1332) and Iraqi Navy Al Basra-class offshore patrol vessel Al Basra (OSV 401) conducted maneuvering techniques and personnel exchanges across vessels.


As part of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s theater security cooperation plan, the U.S. participates in PASSEX exercises with partner nations routinely to build and strengthen integration throughout the region. 


“We started off with radio communication being established with the Coast Guard cutter Wrangell and the Iraqi vessel,” said Wrangell Executive Officer Lt.jg. Oliver Cole. “We reached out to them with standard bridge-to-bridge communication.”


Once communication was established, the two forces practiced maneuvering techniques before the boarding exchange took place.


“When we boarded the Iraqi vessel, we were received extremely well,” said Cole. “They were really happy to have us and really friendly.”


After the forces boarded the ships, they were given a tour of the Iraqi vessels and discussed operating in the Arabian Gulf and future training plans.


“We sat down with senior leadership and discussed basic information about our ships, our countries’ navies and operations in the Arabian Gulf,” said Cole.  “The exercise ended with a group photo, and the Iraqi boat transported us back to our ship.”


Continuous training is a key part for U.S Coast Guard and coalition forces in maintaining partnerships afloat.


“PASSEX furthers our strong partnerships with coalition forces operations in the Arabian Gulf,” said Wrangell Commanding Officer Lt. Nicholas Forni. “It benefits both forces because it affords our service members the opportunity to learn and work with coalition partners.”


This was one of multiple PASSEX exercises Wrangell and Maui have participated in with partner nations to build and strengthen interoperability throughout the region. 


“It was an excellent opportunity and we were happy to participate,” said Forni. “The crews gained valuable knowledge and experience.”

Both Wrangell and Maui, homeported at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, are assigned to Combined, Task Force (CTF) 152.  CTF 152 is part of Combined Maritime Forces, a multi-national organization which coordinates Maritime Security Operations in the region, facilitating cooperation and interoperability between regional maritime forces.