Forces from the U. S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy concluded a week of bilateral operations in the South China Sea, June 11. Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) rendezvoused with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Anzac-class frigate HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155) June 6 to conduct operations in the South China Sea that continued until June 11. Curtis Wilbur and Ballarat began the week of cooperative operations with maneuvering drills and a replenishment-at-sea with USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198).
HMAS Ballarat Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Antony Pisani, was pleased to participate in the cooperative operations which reinforce the strength of the Australia-U. S. Alliance. “This exercise builds on the strong and enduring mateships that exist between the RAN and U. S. Navy. It also shows that together we are committed to a secure and stable maritime environment, and promotes the importance of Navy-to-Navy relationships across the region,” said Pisani.
“I am extremely excited to work with our Australian allies and HMAS Ballarat who share our common values and interests, “said Cmdr. Anthony Massey, Curtis Wilbur’s Commanding Officer. “Our close coordination and support for each other demonstrates our continued resolve and commitment to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific, promoting security and prosperity in the region.”
Curtis Wilbur and Ballarat also conducted cross-deck helicopter operations, join live-fire gunnery exercises, and joint maritime operations. The ships honed their advanced mariner skills in a joint environment while enforcing the normalcy of routine operations throughout the region in accordance with international law. These exercises further strengthen interoperability between allied navies, and demonstrate the U. S. Navy’s commitment to working with like-minded regional partners to preserve international order in the South China Sea.
These operations are crucial to both the RAN and U.S. Navy, and displays their dedication to adherence of international law for the benefit of all. The South China Sea is integral to global commerce, and the shared use of the South China Sea for free and unrestricted international trade benefits all nations.
USS Curtis Wilbur is currently underway conducting operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific, while assigned to Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15/Task Force 71, the Navy’s largest forward deployed DESRON and US 7th Fleet’s principal surface force. As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.