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Training Enhances Skills to Increase Maritime Security in Dominican Republic


 

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Kathryn Whittenberger, Naval Special Warfare Group 4 Public Affair


LAS CALDERAS, Dominican Republic (NNS) -- U.S. Navy Special Warfare combatant-craft crewmen (SWCC) conducted a joint combined exchange training (JCET) with members of the Dominican Republic Navy June 18-Aug 7.
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> The purpose of this JCET was to strengthen the partnership between the United States and the Dominican Republic Navy. This training exercise is held annually at the invitation of the Dominican Republic and focuses on supporting its counterdrug mission.
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> "All of the Special Operations Command-South international JCET partners in the Caribbean area of operations are seeking to develop their maritime mobility capability in the coastal and/or brown water environment through the training, support and exchange, which the special boat teams and the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS) have to offer," said Cmdr. Bill Irwin, commander of Naval Special Warfare Task Unit-Caribbean, who also helped arrange for NAVSCIATTS to give basic level maritime training to this and other units in the Dominican Republic.
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> "The special skill sets which the special boat teams and NAVSCIATTS have to offer through these training events enhance our partner nations' capability and capacity to conduct counterdrug operations, while developing the skills of our special warfare combatant-craft crewmen and building a strong theater security cooperation alliance. This alliance helps keep America safe."
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> This course covers basic seamanship skills, including everything from towing the boats on trailers to inserting and extracting forces on the ground. Previous U.S. engagement with the Dominicans has included Enduring Friendship, a USSOUTHCOM-spearheaded multi-year program that aims to lay the groundwork for a regional security network of maritime patrollers by providing seven nations' improved communications systems and high-speed interceptor boats. These four craft, delivered in 2007 as part of the Enduring Friendship initiative, have been augmented by two more boarding craft this year, to vastly enhance the Dominican's capability to patrol their waters.
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> Chosen for their experience as U.S. Special Operations Command maritime mobility experts, the SWCC here focus on building skill sets necessary in deploying the vessels to their maximum potential.
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> "We take a look at what the partner nation requests, what we can provide and the desired end state," said the SWCC chief petty officer in charge of the boat detachment deployed here. "We concentrate on basic maritime knowledge, but in the end, we want them to safely and effectively be able to put forces on the ground."
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> Although this detachment has done a previous JCET in this region, each is unique.
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> "They are very eager to learn. We teach them the basics of everything, including weapon handling, medical and navigation - everything that builds the foundations of a special operations warrior," said a SWCC Second Class Petty Officer. "At the same time, I'm getting a chance to practice my language skills and operate a different boat. I think we're really learning a lot from each other."
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> These skill sets are in demand by the Dominicans.
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> "Right now, we're learning navigation. The officers, we already know how to do it, but we are learning new things that will help us," said Dominican Republic Navy Ensign Amavle Arias. "Most importantly, we are learning basic combat medicine. This is important because we will use it in training, while operating and in regular life."
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> Arias is the commander of one of the vessels and says he will pass this training on to others.
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> "Our main mission is to stop drug trafficking. We learn here how to do fast maneuvers and how to stop them," he said. "We have also learned that every mission has to follow a procedure to keep us safe."
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> For more news from Naval Special Warfare Group 4, visit www.navy.mil/local/nswg4/

 


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