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Exercise Phoenix Express 2017 Concludes with Closing Ceremonies

May 17, 2017 at 2:17 PM UTC
Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Justin Stumberg

CARTAGENA, Spain – The closing ceremony for exercise Phoenix Express 2017 was held May 17, 2017, at the Escuela de Infanteria de Marina General Albacete Fuster in Cartagena, Spain.

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Maritime forces from Europe, North Africa, and the United States came together to celebrate the 13th iteration of the multinational maritime exercise that began May 8.

“This year’s Phoenix Express was a true success,” said Rear Adm. Shawn Duane, vice commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, director, Maritime Partner Programs, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa. “We observed great teamwork ranging from the command maritime operations center control of a multinational surface action group to special warfare integration activities in the Tunisian operations area.”

Duane said that exercises like Phoenix Express not only provide opportunities to improve the ability to respond but also build enduring relationships.

“Strong relationships can be built for many purposes and in many ways, but the most pragmatic of these is to achieve a common goal,” said Duane. “We each share the goal of increased and improved security in the Mediterranean Sea.”

This goal was shared by Spanish Vice Adm. Manuel De La Puente Mora-Figueroa, admiral of Maritime Action Forces, another senior leader who spoke at the closing ceremony.

“The Spanish Navy has made the effort to meet all the requirements and requests for the success of the exercise,” said Mora-Figueroa. “Because we are convinced and believe these exercises have key pieces to improve safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea.”

Mora-Figueroa said that even though the exercise was a success he still felt like there was more work ahead for his partners and allies.

“There is still a lot to do,” said Mora-Figueroa. “I encourage all of you to keep working for the safety and security of our seas.”

Phoenix Express, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command and facilitated by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet (CNE-CNA/C6F), is designed to improve regional cooperation, increase maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, and operational capabilities in order to enhance efforts to promote safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea.

This year's exercise control group was hosted at the Arsenal Cartagena located in Cartagena, Spain, but training took place throughout the Mediterranean Sea, to include territorial waters of North African nations.

Participating nations in Phoenix Express 2017 included Algeria, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, the Netherlands, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States.

Exercise Phoenix Express is one of three CNE-CNA/C6F-facilitated regional exercises part of a comprehensive strategy to provide collaborative opportunities amongst African forces and international partners that addresses maritime security concerns.

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