Aerial Warfare

US Navy Carrier Strike Group and Ecuadorian Navy Conduct Bilateral Exercises

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US Navy Carrier Strike Group and Ecuadorian Navy Conduct Bilateral Exercises

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US Navy Carrier Strike Group and Ecuadorian Navy Conduct Bilateral Exercises
US Navy Carrier Strike Group and Ecuadorian Navy Conduct Bilateral Exercises

The U.S. Navy George Washington Carrier Strike Group and Ecuadorian navy concluded a series of bilateral exercises as a part of Southern Seas 2024 while underway in the Pacific Ocean June 27. GWCSG assets and Ecuadorian maritime forces conducted warfare area exercises which included numerous ships and aircraft from both participating countries; the exercise also included subject matter expert exchanges between the two navies. Both nations’ maritime forces coordinated in a unified effort to increase proficiency and improve interoperability between the two partnering nations. The navies conducted air power demonstrations, a photo exercise, and senior enlisted leader engagements. Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) integrated with the GWCSG to conduct surface exercises alongside Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) to further enhance capability and to demonstrate the combined martime strength of the two navies.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 1, board an MH-60S Seahawk on the flight deck of George Washington while underway in the Pacific Ocean, June 26, 2024.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 1, board an MH-60S Seahawk on the flight deck of George Washington while underway in the Pacific Ocean, June 26, 2024. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class August Y. Clawson)

The bilateral exercises also included VBSS (Visit, board, search, and seizure) and SAR (search and rescue) sceanrios, which provided an opportunity for the two navies to demonstrate their ability to work together in planning and executing operations often requiring multinational responses. The U.S. Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) also hosted a distinguished visitor day at sea, which provided Ecuadorian civilian and military leaders the opportunity to experience flight operations, observe routine carrier operations, and engage with Sailors. Visitors toured various spaces across the aircraft carrier ship including the flight deck, bridge, and hangar bay.

An Ecuadorian navy Bell 206B helicopter takes off from the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) while underway in the Pacific Ocean, June 26, 2024
An Ecuadorian navy Bell 206B helicopter takes off from the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) while underway in the Pacific Ocean, June 26, 2024. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class August Y. Clawson)

“The expert exchanges offers a unique chance to improve teamwork through an opportunity to combine shared experiences and apply it to a common goal. These exercises also allow us to operate alongside partner nations in their regions and in their waters where the exchange of information is key to successful operations,” said Commander Joe Hamilton, commanding Officer USS Porter (DDG 78).

“This evolution will have a profound positive impact on strengthening our existing partnership with Ecuador and the surrounding regions. The exchange of maritime mission focused knowledge, such as this, builds a level of trust that establishes a new kind of relationship between U.S. and Ecuadorian forces,” said Rear Adm. Alexis Walker, commander, Carrier Strike Group 10.

Gen. Celiano Cevallos, Commander General, Ecuadorian Air Force, right, tours the hangar deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) while underway in the Pacific Ocean, June 26, 2024.
Gen. Celiano Cevallos, Commander General, Ecuadorian Air Force, right, tours the hangar deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) while underway in the Pacific Ocean, June 26, 2024. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Max Biesecker)

GWCSG consists of George Washington, Porter, Henry J. Kaiser-class replenishment oiler USNS John Lenthal (T-AO-189), and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 composed of “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, “Jolly Rogers” of VFA-103, “Patriots” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, “Sun Kings” of Airborne Command & Control Squadron (VAW) 116, “Grandmasters” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46, and “Nightdippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5. George Washington is deployed with Porter and John Lenthal as part of Southern Seas 2024 which seeks to enhance capability, improve interoperability, and strengthen maritime partnerships with countries throughout the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility through joint, multinational, and interagency exchanges and cooperation.

The official Ecuadorian party observes flight operations on the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) while underway in the Pacific Ocean, June 26, 2024.
The official Ecuadorian party observes flight operations on the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) while underway in the Pacific Ocean, June 26, 2024. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Max Biesecker)

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