By Ensign Kelly Harris, Public Affairs, USS The Sullivans (DDG 68)
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) and Tunisian Navy Offshore Patrol Vessels TNS Jugurtha (P610) and TNS Carthage (P503), conducted multiple tactical operations to enhance maritime security and increase interoperability between the two navies, Nov. 5-6, 2021.
"Working side by side with our Tunisian partners was the perfect end to our multi-national interoperability deployment," said Cmdr. James Diefenderfer, commanding officer of The Sullivans. "Learning from our Tunisian shipmates improves the overall coordination between our countries and our way of conducting operations at sea. I am grateful for this opportunity to work so close as with our African partners."
The two navies executed a visit board search and seizure (VBSS) exercise, search and rescue (SAR) integrated training, simulated air defense exercises, tactical maneuvering exercises and a live fire exercise.
During the boarding exercise, a United States Naval Academy (USNA) 2020 graduate was a part of the VBSS team from the TNS Jugurtha (P610). He was a foreign exchange student, from Tunisia, in 8th Company at USNA. While on board, he had the opportunity to reunite with two of his classmates who are stationed aboard The Sullivans, Ensign Gabriella Baltimore and Ensign Megan Gravette.
"It was such a surprise to see a classmate from the USNA during a multi-national exercise with the Tunisians," said Ensign Gabriella Baltimore. "I did not expect to see a familiar face during deployment, let alone from another country's Navy. This reunion goes to show the connections we made at USNA are life long and across many borders."
Conducting high level training with our Tunisian partners proves our commitment to developing both nations' ability to conduct maritime security operations in the Mediterranean, further enhancing cooperation between U.S. and Tunisian forces in support of shared security goals.
USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) is near completion of the historic deployment after detaching from the United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG-21).
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 and USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) are humbled and proud to continue their special relationship with the United Kingdom through the deployment of Carrier Strike Group 21. Their interoperability with the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and additional international allies will preserve our collective military advantage and reinforce rules-based international order. The United States and the United Kingdom's forward-deployed forces remain ready to respond to crises globally as a combined maritime force - we stand together.
U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.