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United States And Jamaica Conduct Bilateral Maritime Exercise In Caribbean

KINGSTON — The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Sioux City (LCS 11) and Jamaica Defense Force Coast Guard patrol vessel HMJS George William Gordon conducted a bi-lateral maritime exercise in the Caribbean Sea, May 8.

During the exercise, Sioux City deployed her 11-meter rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) and MH-60S Sea hawk attached to the “Sea Knights” of Helicopter Combat Squadron (HSC) 22 to coordinate with George William Gordon. Forces practiced a series of tactical shipboard movements, formations, and vectoring, as well as tested command and control capabilities.

The exercise helped to improve interoperability and demonstrate the strategic partnership with the Jamaican Defence Force that helps enhance capabilities against shared threats.

“Coordinating with partners in the region is always a valuable training opportunity,” said Cmdr. Wade Smith, commanding officer of Sioux City. “Training together provides the foundation we need for whatever maritime challenges may arise.”

Bi-lateral engagements allow both navies to strengthen tactical readiness for future operations, maintain readiness at sea, and support continued commitment to security and stability in the region.

“This exercise was a chance to practice technical tactics with our Jamaican counterparts and tackle unique adversities that only present themselves when working together with another team for the first time,” said Lt. j.g. Sean Hinchey, Navigation Officer aboard Sioux City. “It is successful joint operations like this that enhance our ability to work together as professional mariners and ensures our presence is felt long past our physical departure from the operating area.”

Sioux City is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.

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