Friday, December 26, 2014

Idaho well represented at the helm of U.S. Navy counter- piracy exercise with China

DESRON ONE Commodore CAPT Doug Stuffle (right) speaking to PLA-N media reporters on the value of cooperation between the US and PRC for countering piracy.

The U.S. Navy counterpiracy exercise with the Chinese People's Liberation Army (Navy) PLA-N began as of Dec. 11, off the coastal states in the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa. Two of the ships participating in the exercise are led by Idaho natives. U. S. Navy Capt. Doug Stuffle, born and raised in Orofino, and CDR Ted Nunamaker, from Meridian.

Earlier this year, the Clearwater Tribune featured Capt. Stuffle who took command of Destroyer Squadron One in February of 2014. Destroyer Squadron One (DESRON ONE) is part of Carrier Strike Group One, embarked on USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) and is currently deployed to Fifth Fleet.

The Strike Group, along with four ships, guided missile destroyer USS Sterett (commanded by Cmdr. Nunamaker), USS Gridley, USS Dewey, and USS Bunker Hill have participated in several multinational exercises.

In a recent article, “U.S. and China conduct anti-piracy exercise”, U. S. Navy Mass Communication specialists 1st Class Travis Alston and 3rd Class Eric Coffer, further define the purpose and goals of U.S.-China Counter-Piracy Exercise 15.

The following information appears in their article.

The cooperative training aims to promote partnership, strength and presence. It includes combined visit, board, search, and seizure operations, communication exchanges, and various other aspects of naval operations. Additionally, the exercise represents a long-standing united front toward counter-piracy operations shared by these two world powers.

“The exercise allows us to address our common regional and global interest,” said Capt. Doug Stuffle, “It helps both nations pursue a healthy, stable, reliable and continuous bilateral relationship.” 

Approximately 700 personnel from the U.S. and China navies will participate in the exercise, and it gives Sterett sailors the opportunity to engage in a shared mission with other surface platforms. 

“Piracy is a long-standing problem, world-wide,” said Cmdr. Theodore Nunamaker. “It has long been recognized as a problem that requires an international-cooperative solution. Certainly the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR (area of responsibility) is one of the focused points for that effort. Modern-day piracy has a far-reaching economic impact. Although much of the world’s population will never encounter piracy, it has an impact on everyone, by increasing the cost of goods that are being shipped from place to place.”

Stuffle expressed that Sterett’s crew, like all deployed U.S. naval forces, have trained to meet a variety of mission sets that are important to the nation’s interest and stand ready to execute anti-piracy measures when directed.

Both Stuffle and Nunamaker agree the ultimate goal of this exercise is to strengthen military-to-military relationships between the U.S. and its Chinese counter-parts. The navies of the U.S. and China conducted similar training Aug. 20 - 25, 2013.

“These bi-lateral exercises help us establish clear paths for communication; they encourage transparency of trust, help us mitigate risk and allow us to demonstrate cooperative efforts in the international community to help us work together to deal with transnational threats. In the end, we look to create a peaceful, stable and secure maritime domain,” said Stuffle.

Sterett is deployed as part of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group and is supporting Operation Inherent Resolve conducting maritime security operations, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

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