Coast Guard Teams Up with USS Chafee and Philippine Navy for Security Training

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Brian Brannon
Task Group 73.5 Public Affairs

CEBU STRAITS, Philippines NNS — A team of Philippine Navy and U.S. Coast Guard personnel participated in a simulated visit, board, search and seizure VBSS mission May 25 aboard the U.S. guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee DDG 90 as part of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2009.

“It helped us a lot,” said Philippine Navy Ensign Jay T. Roxas. “It increased our capabilities in non-compliant boarding.”

With Chafee Sailors posing as potentially hostile individuals aboard a civilian vessel suspected of carrying an improvised explosive device IED, the Philippine Navy team embarked on a rigid-hull inflatable boat from dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry LSD 49.

Covering each other with simulated weapons, the VBSS team ascended a ladder and came aboard Chafee before splitting into two groups. One group secured the engine room, while the other secured the bridge before forming a sweep team to search for the suspected bomb makers and find the simulated IED.

“They did really well, especially for only two days of training,” said Chief Intelligence Specialist Joshua Busey, Chafee’s VBSS boarding officer. “They have very good rules of engagement.”

A Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team MSST spent the first week of CARAT training with the Philippine Navy at the Naval Forces Central base in Cebu, focusing on maritime security and law enforcement.

“Their tactics, techniques and procedures are quite similar to ours, so it was a good exercise for us to both stay proficient,” said Lt. Scott Verhage, officer in charge of an MSST embarked aboard Harpers Ferry, who led the evaluation team that accompanied the boarding team.

“I’ve operated with the Philippine Navy since 1991, when I came in,” said Cmdr. Heedong Choi, Chafee’s commanding officer. “Like all professional mariners, they are very hard-working and very diligent, and they want to work with us to enhance maritime security.”

CARAT is a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships and enhance the operational readiness of the participating forces.

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