The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Wichita (LCS 13) conducted a bi-lateral maritime exercise with naval counterparts from the Dominican Republic, Mar. 24 while operating in the Caribbean Sea. The exercise provided an opportunity for both navies to demonstrate interoperability for future tactical operations, maintain readiness at sea and support our continued commitment to security in the region. 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. The exercise afforded the opportunity for the two nations to work together to enhance their capabilities against shared threats.
This was the second time this month the Wichita has conducted an exercise with the Dominican Republic Navy. The Dominican Republic’s newest vessel the Near Coastal Patrol Vessel Betelguese (GC 102) and the Coastal Patrol Vessel Orion (GC 109) participated in the exercise. Wichita 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.
“This exercise was a great opportunity to practice our own shipboard tactics, while also continuing to build a healthy relationship with our Dominican Republic counterparts,” said Chief Quartermaster Angel Rodriguez, boat officer, during the exercise. “Being able to practice good seamanship enables our crew to further develop our maritime skills.”
“This exercise saw a significant increase in complexity, building upon our previous interactions with Dominican Republic forces.” said Cmdr. Daniel Reiher, commanding officer of Wichita. “Coordinating between three ships simulating operations at sea is a capability with real significance and training opportunities.”
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.