Navy Conducts MIO Exercise on USS Whidbey Island
On August 2, the Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) team from amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) conducted training with sailors from Romanian mine countermeasures vessel Lieutenant Dimitrie Nicolescu (MCMV 29) as part of Summer Storm 2011.
The maritime interdiction operations (MIO) exercise was one of several evolutions being conducted by Whidbey Island and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
"The purpose of the exercise was to demonstrate to them how we conduct a boarding operation," said Ens. Jason E. Roberson, force protection officer on board Whidbey Island. "It's important for other NATO countries to know how we operate, and for us to know how they operate so that if one day we need to conduct a joint live operation, we've already laid the groundwork."
The details of the exercise were closely coordinated with Lt. Cmdr. Lucian Grigoreseu, Nicolescu commanding officer, during a face-to-face meeting three days earlier.
Under the scenario, the 12-man Whidbey Island VBSS team's mission was to board the Nicolescu, conduct a thorough inspection of the spaces to verify there was no contraband, and verify the proper documentation and identification of all personnel and cargo aboard the ship.
"This type of exercise provides a great opportunity for both the U.S. and Romanian militaries to gain a different perspective and benefit from the experience," said Grigoreseu. "I hope both sides take away something they didn't have before."
Whidbey Island's VBBS team performed one last demonstration for the Romanian crew following the defbrief: a tactical egress simulating departing a scene under fire.
"I think the exercise went really well," said Roberson. "The guys performed really well and carried out the training mission successfully."
The Whidbey Island is deployed as part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.
For more news from USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41), visit www.navy.mil/local/lsd41/.