BAY OF BENGAL- Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG) completed the harbor phase of exercise Malabar in Chennai, India, July 14.
Malabar is the latest in a continuing series of exercises that has grown in scope and complexity over the years to improve interoperability between the participating nations in the Indo-Asia Pacific and emphasize maritime superiority. The exercise includes the U.S. and Indian Navies as well as the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
Joint operations are incredibly important. They build trust, respect and hone warfighting skills to ensure everyone can effectively work together and complete the mission. There may be a few hurdles but that is why we train, so we can figure out how to operate together before we encounter a wartime environment, said Command Senior Chief Robert Kingston, a native of Geneva, Ohio and leading chief petty officer of Nimitz’ information effects department.
While ashore in Chennai, Sailors participated in subject matter expert and professional exchanges on a variety of operations. These exchanges highlighted and focused on advanced warfighting skills, damage control, medical operations and a wide range of other CSG operations.
The maritime security and counter-terrorism interests in the region are shared among the participating nations. This exercise allows the participating units to improve the collective maritime relationship and commitment to freedom of navigation on behalf of their host nations.
“The benefits and capabilities we gain are endless,” said Kingston. “It gives us unique access, perspective and capability that we might not otherwise have to positively influence or contribute to regional or global mission sets. Additionally, we can’t do everything and be everywhere all the time. Strength urns in numbers and any growth in any form makes the team bigger, better and more capable.”
The time spent in-port allowed Sailors from all three of the participating countries to board and tour ships from other countries and participate in community relations projects (COMREL).
“Being part of this COMREL helped me learned a lot,” said Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Greg Mooneyham, a native of Tampa. “It’s an interesting way how they run the school here [Thirvotritur Middle School]. They use art to teach from an early age. The kids are really smart, it was a great experience altogether.”
Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and ships from the Indian navy and JMSDF will now participate in a number of events as part of the at-sea phase of Malabar. These events will take the training and interactions conducted during the in-port phase and test the application of the participating units’ high-end warfighting capabilities as they work in a joint environment.
Ships will spend the at-sea phase underway in the Bay of Bengal advancing the military coordination between nations. This phase will consist of surface warfare, communication, search and rescue, underway replenishment, and gunnery exercises in addition to various other interactions between the ships.
The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group consists of the USS Nimitz (CVN 68), the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, CSG-11 staff and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9. The deployed units from DESRON 9 include the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Howard (DDG 83), USS Shoup (DDG 86), USS Pinckney (DDG 91) and USS Kidd (DDG 100).
The U.S. Navy has patrolled the Indo-Asia Pacific routinely for more than 70 years promoting regional peace and security.