POLARIS POINT, Guam - U.S. Navy forward deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS McCampbell (DDG 85) began bilateral exercise Pacific Eagle with vessels from the Russian Navy Oct. 13.
Fitzgerald and McCampbell departed Apra Harbor, Guam with Russian Federation Navy (RFN) ships Slava class guided missile cruiser Varyag and the Irkut tanker to conduct at-sea maneuvers as part of exercise Pacific Eagle.
The Pacific Eagle’s focus is to improve the USN and RFN maritime interoperability. It will include a series of maritime security exercises, ship maneuvering and communication drills.
“We both have the same desires and wants in the Pacific area of operations such as counterterrorism, counter piracy and freedom of navigation,” said Cmdr. Brian Mutty, commanding officer of Fitzgerald. “The exercise allows us to understand how they work and vice-versa. This is a chance to show them who we are, personally as well as professionally.”
As part of the exercise, Fitzgerald welcomed aboard two sailors from the Russian Navy, Capt. Lt. Dmitry Martvschenko and First Lt. Roman Glushakov. The two men spent the day touring the ship and observing general quarters and man overboard drills.
One of Fitzgerald’s crewmembers, Fire Controlman 3rd Class Aleksey Yatskovskiy, who was born in Minsk, Belarus and lived there until he was 11 years-old, served as translator for Martvchenko and Glushakov.
“It has been interesting, said Yatskovskiy. “Primarily, a lot of the questions they’re asking are how we do business: how do you navigate, how do you move, are you using paper charts, electronic charts, how do plot the points and what type of tools do you use? So they have some understanding on how we operate the ship.”
Pacific Eagle was last conducted Sept. 24, 2007. Mutty said he is happy that his ship was chosen to be to be involved this time and hopes there will be more interactions in the future.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to sail with the Russian Navy,” said Mutty. “If you told me twenty years ago that I’d be sitting here now as a commanding officer of a warship, sailing with the Russian Navy, specifically the Russian Pacific Fleet flag ship [Varyag], I’d say that’s a dream come true.”
Fitzgerald and McCampbell are assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 and forward deployed to Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan.