The U.S. Navy Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Wichita (LCS 13) executed a passing exercise (PASSEX) with naval counterparts from the Dominican Republic, March 2, while operating in the Caribbean Sea.
The PASSEX provided an opportunity for both navies to improve interoperability and demonstrate their ability to communicate, navigate, and operate together at sea.
“As a new arrival to the U.S. Fourth Fleet area of operations, it was a rewarding experience for the crew to immediately engage with our regional partners,” said U.S. Navy Commander Daniel A. Reiher, commanding officer of Wichita. “We look forward to more shared experiences throughout our deployment to train together and strengthen our ties.”
Throughout the exercise, the forces were able to practice a series of tactical shipboard movements and formations, as well as test command and control and communication capabilities. PASSEXs afford the opportunity for partner nations to develop a greater trust, understanding, and respect for each other’s unique platforms all while improving crews’ knowledge and demonstrating shared tactics.
“This PASSEX provided extremely valuable training for our bridge and navigation team,” said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Lydia A. Griffin, officer of the deck during the exercise. “Being able to practice tactics and good seamanship enables our crew to further develop our maritime skills.”
The PASSEX was a concluding event after Wichita recently completed a brief stop for fuel and provisions in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Wichita is deployed to the U.S. Fourth Fleet area of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes countering illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth 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.