USS Donald Cook, La Fayette Engage in PASSEX

The Arleigh-burke class guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) conducted an underway engagement with the French Navy frigate La Fayette (F 710) Feb. 26, 2015.

The engagement aimed to foster improved interoperability between the participating nations, while at the same time enhancing maritime capabilities and security throughout Europe and the Mediterranean.

USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) Commanding Officer Cmdr. Charles Hampton said:

We were able to successfully execute a lot of exercises. The officer and crew of La Fayette appreciated the training, from the VBSS [visit, board, search and seizure] exercise, to the damage control training.

Underway engagements such as this are often referred to as passing exercises (PASSEX), and consists of a series of at-sea scenarios designed to enhance maritime capabilities among participating nations.

The first event was a ship-to-ship passenger transfer using a 7-meter rigid hull inflatable boat.

Donald Cook and La Fayette then conducted a compliant boarding exercise with each other’s VBSS team. During the exercise, participants went through and secured engineering and bridge spaces and searched for pre-staged personnel who role-played as suspects.

A live-fire gunnery exercise was successfully completed aboard Donald Cook.

The PASSEX ended with a rescue and assistance drill hosted aboard Donald Cook.

USS Donald Cook, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.

Image: US Navy