By MC2 Kaila Peters, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Public Affairs
U.S. Marines, assigned to Task Force 61 Naval Amphibious Forces Europe / 2d Marine Division (TF-61/2) conducted a joint casualty evacuation drill with Tunisian armed forces to practice horizontal and vertical hoisting from a target vessel to a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) during the in-port portion of exercise Phoenix Express 2022, May 24, 2022.
“This helps to build confidence in understanding each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures for conducting casualty evacuations, during high-risk missions,” said Capt. Chris Love, TF-61/2.
The hoisting session covered topics such as safe and effective rope techniques to complete a successful hoist of a person, as well as communicating with a nearby RHIB to ensure proper personnel transportation.
“The Tunisians are very eager to learn new standard operating procedures, they absolutely stay late and arrive early to conduct the mission – they are prepared to do more with less, given the opportunity,” said Love.
Following the hoisting session on the Tunisian NRF-class Khaireddine (A 700) the group transited to a nearby location via two RHIBs to conduct amphibious reconnaissance in preparation for a raid.
Participating personnel deployed from the RHIBs using scout swimmer techniques, and practiced securing the beach using clandestine landing and withdrawal. Once ashore, the teams proceeded to the raid site, practiced establishing security to enable follow on forces.
“This was a great opportunity to work with our partners on advanced amphibious techniques,” said GySgt. Kermit Hatfield, TF-61/2. “We were able to share how we conduct amphibious raids, while also gaining an understanding of how the Tunisians do a similar mission set.”
These exercises provide an opportunity to work side-by-side with partners, such as Tunisia, to better synchronize and rehearse for potential real-world scenarios. Maritime security is critical to the overall stability of the African continent, where 38 of 54 countries are coastal nations. Approximately 90 percent of all trade travels via the world's oceans, and nearly a third of all trade passes through the Mediterranean Sea.
Phoenix Express is one of three NAVEUR-NAVAF-facilitated regional exercises as part of a comprehensive strategy to provide collaborative opportunities amongst African forces and international partners that addresses maritime security concerns.
For over 80 years, NAVEUR-NAVAF has forged strategic relationships with our Allies and Partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and USAFRICOM areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.