US & China Warships in Joint SAR Exercises
As part of a broader advancement in cooperation between the United States and China, the guided-missile cruiser 'USS Lake Erie' (CG 70) and the People's Liberation Army-Navy [PLA(N)] have joined in training scenarios off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii.
The three participating PLA(N) ships, a Fuqing-class fleet oiler Hongzehu (AOR 881), a Lulu-class destroyer Qingdao (DDG 113) and a Jiangkai-class frigate Linyi (FFG 547), had just completed a port visit at Joint Base Harbor Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Sept. 6-9., which was the first visit by PLA(N) ships to Pearl Harbor since 2006.
The at-sea training included search and rescue, military medicine, communications, pipe patching and firefighting.
Capt. John Banigan, commanding officer of Lake Erie, said the training helps establish clear paths of communication, builds trust, and encourages multilateral cooperation to address common regional security challenges. " With this opportunity, we demonstrated our ability to operate and communicate at sea with the PLA(N)," Banigan said. "Having all Pacific nation navies working together on common maritime problems advances our goal of ensuring security, stability, peace and prosperity in the region."
During the search and rescue exercise, which Banigan highlighted as contributing to a core capability that the U.S. Navy practices regularly with navies throughout Pacific, one rigid-hulled inflatable boat from the Lake Erie and one rescue boat from the Qingdao responded to a distressed vessel that had a fire, wounded sailor and was taking on water. Sailors from both of the nations worked together throughout the scenario to put out the fire, pipe and shore the leak and assist the wounded.