USS Winston S. Churchill Crew Displays MIO Tactics with Montenegrin Military

 USS Winston S. Churchill Crew Displays MIO Tactics with Montenegrin Military

Visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team members of guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) displayed maritime interdiction tactics with the Montenegrin military during a coalition training exercise July 9.

The VBSS team and the maritime squadron of Montenegro’s special forces each performed a simulated maritime interdiction operation (MIO) in order to compare strategies and further cooperation between the two allied militaries.

“Every military has different ways of solving problems. To observe a diversity of well-trained boarding teams interjects new ideas and keeps what you’re doing fresh,” said Lt. j.g. Edward R. Kellum, lead boarding officer of the Churchill team. “To see what the Montenegrin Navy is capable of and analyze the differences only adds another layer of competency to my team’s ability to perform their mission.”

In each event, VBSS teams boarded vessels belonging to their respective countries, the Churchill for the U.S. Sailors and a salvage tug for the Montenegrin special forces. Both teams executed boarding techniques to include crew members and sweeping the ship for contraband. Military leaders from Montenegro observed both sets of boardings.

“This was an excellent opportunity for us to see and compare our levels of tactics and equipment,” said Montenegro navy Cmdr. Darko Vukovic, deputy chief of naval operations for Montenegro.

While the Montenegrin navy does not have VBSS teams, they utilize the maritime squadron special forces personnel to perform anti-piracy operations and combat smuggling and terrorism.

“It’s a good feeling to get a direct comparison with a special forces squadron,” said Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class (SW) Devon Dusseault, a Churchill VBSS team member. “It’s great to see what they’re capable of and integrate those tactics into our own.

The Montenegrin navy consists of 341 personnel, according Vukovic. He said he believes close training like this will pay even great dividends for Montenegro in the future.

Winston S. Churchill is on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of Maritime Security Operations (MSO) and theater Security Cooperation (TSC) efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. Hue City is deployed as part of Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (CSG), which includes CSG 8, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), guided- missile destroyers USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), the seven squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, and Destroyer Squadron 28.

Naval Today Staff, July 12, 2012; Image: U.S.Navy