Dutch Navy Commodore visits USS Fort McHenry

The Royal Netherlands Navy Commodore Rob Kramer visited U.S. Navy’s dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry during exercise Cold Response 2016 on March 8.

Cold Response is a biennial Norwegian exercise featuring maritime, land and air operations to underscore NATO’s ability to defend against any threat in any environment.

The U.S. Navy said that, while this was a pre-planned exercise, it came at an auspicious moment when many were concerned about the broader European security environment.

Rob Kramer said: “It’s a very complex exercise. It’s been a very challenging environment, and to navigate the fjords and do everything with the AAVs (amphibious assault vehicles) on shore, it’s been very impressive.”

Kramer went on to emphasize the exercise’s significance in fostering good working relationships and interoperability between the 13 participating nations.

“Interoperability, of course, always has a couple of aspects. The first aspect is the equipment side of things – having, let’s say, an American LCU (landing craft utility) alongside one of the Dutch LPDs (amphibious landing platform dock ship). But another very important aspect of interoperability is the cultural side. We have got to invest in friendship; we’ve got to know each other personally.”

CDR 16 officially came to a close March 9 as forces restowed their gear and prepared to return home.