US concludes Persian Gulf exercise with Iraqi, Kuwaiti Navy

US Navy and Coast Guard personnel wrapped up a trilateral exercise with the navies of Iraq and Kuwait in the Northern Persian Gulf.

Cmdr. Russ Moore, USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) commanding officer, left, shakes hands with a member of the Iraqi visit, board, search and seizure team during the trilateral exercise. Photo: US Navy

The exercise concluded August 15 and focused on improving collective proficiency in maritime security tactics between the three nations and ensuring the freedom of navigation throughout the US 5th Fleet area of operations.

Participants included the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), US coastal patrol ships USS Tempest (PC 2) and USS Chinook (PC 9), US Coast Guard Island-class patrol boat USCGC Monomoy (WPB 1326), Iraqi navy patrol boat P 303, and Kuwaiti navy patrol boat KNS Al-Garoh (P 3725). The Sullivans led command and control of each event throughout the exercise.

Exercise events included live-fire gunnery exercises, visit, board, search and seizure team training, maritime infrastructure protection drills, search-and-rescue training, and high-value unit protection operations.

“This has been such a rewarding experience,” said Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Karen Rodriguez, assigned to The Sullivans. “I was a part of the small boat operations we conducted with the Iraqi and Kuwaiti navies and was able to watch our partners maneuver in the gulf alongside us. It’s reassuring to know we have strong partners in this area with common goals, and it was really great to see it first-hand.”

Cmdr. Russ Moore, The Sullivan’s commanding officer felt the exercise helped develop collective maritime security tactics.

“Kuwait and Iraq play a key role in maintaining maritime stability in this region,” said Moored. “This trilateral exercise was an opportunity for all of us to flex our capabilities and learn more about our collective capability. We proved that our nations have the commitment and capacity to collectively preserve the free flow of commerce and freedom of navigation in the Gulf.”

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