Sailors and Marines from the U.S. and Romania concluded Exercise Summer Storm 2011 with a combined amphibious assault demonstration Aug. 3.
Sailors aboard amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) and Romanian mine countermeasures ship Lt. Dimitrie Nicolescu (MCMV 29), U.S. Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Romania's 307th Naval Infantry, participated in the five-day exercise.
Summer Storm included visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) training on board Nicolescu and deck landing qualifications for Romanian aviators on board Whidbey Island.
"It has been a fantastic experience working with our Romanian counterparts," said Cmdr. Eric Conzen, commander, USS Whidbey Island. "They are true professionals and these training opportunities, where we can work hand-in-hand with another Navy, go a long way towards building future relationships. The best thing we can come away with is a better understanding and appreciation for the capabilities of our friends and allies."
Ashore, U.S. and Romanian Marines conducted modern operations in urban terrain (MOUT) training, mortar training, and range and target training.
The exercise culminated in a joint, simulated amphibious assault at the Cape Midea training facility. Nearly 200 U.S. and Romanian Marines were transported to the beach on amphibious vehicles launched from Whidbey Island. Upon reaching the beach, they proceeded inland to simulate attacking a building held by insurgents.
The simulated assault was assessed as a success with participants and exercise planners alike expressing the thought that the training exercise was mutually beneficial.
"We would like to make this a tradition and I would love to see joint training with the U.S. military at least once a year," said Maj. Marius Gheorghescu, a Romanian operations and training officer. "Every time we have worked with them we have learned, gained experience and changed. They are outstanding at what they do."
Whidbey Island is deployed as part of Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.
Article by Bataan Amphibious Ready Group Public Affairs