SOUTH CHINA SEA -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) conducted a Passing Exercise (PASSEX) with the French frigate FS Vendemiaire (F734), Nov. 28, while operating in the South China Sea.
The allied ships conducted weapons and maneuvering exercises, as well as training for the Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) team, during the PASSEX event.
“It's always a pleasure conducting exercises with foreign navies, because the unique nature of naval service transcends national borders in so many ways,” said Cmdr. Todd Hutchison, Michael Murphy’s commanding officer. “Having worked with the French before, I know them to be very capable and professional mariners, and the Captain and crew of FS Vendemiaire confirmed that reputation for me yet again. The crew enjoyed the interaction and learning associated with each of the different exercises, and I hope we have the opportunity to sail the same water with them again.”
In addition to the naval exercises, the French and United States ships swapped personnel for a cultural exchange. Lt. j.g. Benjamin Olivas, training officer on board USS Michael Murphy, visited the French frigate. He had an opportunity to dine with the Vendemiaire’s captain and executive officer and learn about the naval heritages and tradition of the French fleet.
“The Sailors on board FS Vendemaiaire were incredibly gracious hosts, and I feel privileged to have learned much about their naval traditions during my stay,” said Olivas. “My visit was a profound learning experience that illustrated how our partnership with the French Navy leads to effective maritime security and cooperation on the high seas. I hope we continue this partnership in the years to come.”
Michael Murphy, named in honor of Lt. (SEAL) Michael Murphy, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for valorous service during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan in 2005, is on her maiden deployment to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.