USS Higgins
First to Fight!
nited Arab Emirates (UAE) Marines board the flight deck of USS Higgins (DDG 76) during a multi-national training exercise 

ARABIAN SEA (May 18, 2011) United Arab Emirates (UAE) Marines board the flight deck of USS Higgins (DDG 76) during a multi-national training exercise titled IRON SIREN with two UAE warships. The Marines boarded the flight deck during the Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) portion of the exercise, led by VBSS Officer ENS Anthony Formosa. Higgins is deployed supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Executive Officer LCDR Alex Taroc Mabini / RELEASED)
USS Higgins Participates in Visit Board Search and Seizure portion of Exercise Iron Siren 
By ENS Samantha J Carnahan 
ARABIAN GULF – Guided Missile Destroyer USS HIGGINS (DDG 76) took part in a Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) training event with United Arab Emirates Marines as part of a multi-national exercise titled IRON SIREN.

ENS Anthony Formosa leads HIGGINS’ VBSS team and also coordinated the event. Exercise IRON SIREN began on May 16th, 2011 in port Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates. On May 16th five members of HIGGINS VBSS team and seven UAE Marines met for a planning session. The discussion centered on team composition, boarding procedures, tactical movements, and search procedures. Following the brief, the teams conducted a walkthrough of the spaces to be used for the drill to further demonstrate the basic movements discussed.

On May 18, 2011, HIGGINS and the UAE Marines commenced the drill portion of the VBSS events. The Marines approached HIGGINS on her quarter and boarded onto the flight deck. The HIGGINS Sailors and UAE Marines completed two drill scenarios and concluded with a debrief and a discussion of the best tactics used. “I look at tactics as tools in a toolbox and I keep the mindset that no matter how little some tools may be used, the possibility of using them always exist,” says ENS Formosa (VBSS Officer). “I keep this mindset while training my team and others and constantly express its importance.” The VBSS portion of Exercise IRON SIREN was a success and both HIGGINS Sailors and UAE Marines walked away with a greater appreciation and understanding of the operations of the other nation.

USS Higgins is assigned to the Carl Vinson Strike Group, home ported in San Diego, California and has worked in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility prior to entering 5th Fleet area of responsibility shortly after leaving San Diego in January of 2011.

Carl Vinson Strike Group consists of flagship USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, guided-missile cruisers USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), and the embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 1. Ships assigned to DESRON 1 include the USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS Gridley (DDG 101), USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Rentz (FFG 46), and USS McClusky (FFG 41).
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