USS ESSEX, At Sea
(NNS) -- The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) is participating in exercise Habu Nag 2010, an annual, bilateral amphibious training exercise between the United States and India taking place Sept. 29-Oct. 5.
The exercise is designed to enhance U.S.-Indian bilateral interoperability during amphibious operations, including humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
Several officers of the Indian Armed Forces embarked Essex Sept. 28 to observe Navy and Marine amphibious training and to participate in a tabletop exercise.
"It has been a wonderful experience being on a U.S. ship," said Col. Manoj Tiwari, of the Indian army. "We have learned a lot about the U.S. Marine Corps and how they function and work with the naval element. We have the experience on land; what we hope to learn is how the Marines perform landings and facilitate more fluid interaction between our own naval and amphibious elements."
The Indian military has no marine corps. Instead they deploy a specially trained amphibious army division to perform beach landings. Officers of that unit are working alongside U.S. Marine representatives to share knowledge and prepare for future scenarios and amphibious operations.
"A key aspect is that the U.S. has Marines embedded with Navy staff, doing jobs for the Navy that are Marine Corps oriented and vice versa," said Lt. Col. Evan Holt, a Marine liaison officer assigned to Commander, Task Force 76, who is working with the Indian officers. "We want to demonstrate how two different services with two different goals mesh their operations and personnel to complete those goals."
For the Indian navy, the exercise allows them to see first hand amphibious operations at sea.
"This operation gives us a birds-eye view of how amphibious operations are organized," said Cmdr. Gagan Kaushal, of the Indian navy. "It also gives us the chance to get a ground view of how everything is executed." Habu Nag is just one bilateral exercise conducted between the U.S. and India. In addition, U.S. Navy ships conduct numerous routine visits to India each year. Essex, commanded by Capt. Troy Hart, is part of the forward-deployed Essex Amphibious Ready Group and is on patrol in the Western Pacific. For more news from USS Essex (LHD 2), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd2/