INDIAN OCEAN (Nov. 16, 2011) – The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) embarked four Indonesian military liaison officers Nov. 14 during its current deployment.
The embark allowed Indonesian officers to interact with Essex officers and gave each service an opportunity to exchange ideas that will aid in future bilateral training opportunities between Indonesian forces and the U.S. military.
During the visit, the Indonesian officers were given a tour of the ship to help improve their understanding of the capabilities of Essex and the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team.
“Being on a ship is an entirely new experience,” said 1st Lt. Anwar Souie of the Indonesian air force. “I have learned a lot about the Navy and the Marines aboard. My job is mostly flying, but learning is a key aspect, so when I can get a chance to come here and participate in an environment like this and be a part of training or drills, that just adds to my learning experience, one that I would recommend to my peers.”
The visit aboard Essex also allowed U.S. Navy officers a chance to work alongside their Indonesian counterparts in order to coordinate training opportunities in a joint environment that could help increase each military’s effectiveness in real-world scenarios.
“It’s been great having our Indonesian friends aboard Essex these past few days,” said Lt. j.g. William Kranz. “I’ve learned a lot about the way that each of their forces train as well as how they work together. I’ve also taken away an appreciation for how similar their junior officers are to us. We all seem to have a lot of the same concerns and challenges, but the good thing is that it makes it easier for all of us to work together.”
Rear Adm. Scott Jones, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Seven, said the liaison officers are an example of the strong ties the U.S. military has with Indonesia.
“Indonesia and the United States are natural partners, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen the bonds between our armed forces,” said Jones. “Both our nations share democratic and seafaring traditions as well as a mutual desire for maintaining stability in this region.”
The experience also provided both militaries a chance to discuss how each organization would handle particular situations that are applicable to each other’s armed forces.
Souie said the Indonesian air force and navy frequently conduct joint exercises and being able to see how pilots aboard a naval vessel coordinate with the ship during daily operations was a good learning experience to share with his unit.
“I think this is a rare opportunity that we do not get to experience often and, given the chance, I would do it again,” said Lt. Benedictus Henri, an Indonesian naval officer. “I believe this has been beneficial to all of us, and we look forward to our training together.”