CARIBBEAN SEA –
The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) and two Dominican Republic Navy ships conducted a bilateral maritime interdiction exercise off the coast of Santo Domingo, 10 November 22.
During the exercise, the two nations’ naval forces worked together to find, track and intercept a simulated drug smuggling vessel through a practice series of tactical shipboard movements, formations, and vectoring. The exercise also allowed for testing of maritime command and control capabilities.
Milwaukee launched an 11-meter rigid inflatable boat (RIB) as the exercise’s fast smuggling boat, and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, Detachment 9, provided air support from an MH-60S Seahawk. The Dominican Navy participated with coastal patrol vessel Altair (GC-112) and interceptor boat Becrux (LI-170).
The training helped to improve interoperability and demonstrate the strategic partnership with the Dominican Republic that helps facilitate conducting naval operations against emerging threats in the region.
Cmdr. Brian Forster, commanding officer of Milwaukee gave insight to the day’s interdiction exercise.
“The Dominican Republic is one of the finest navies to work with,” said Forster. “They have shown their professionalism in every manner, be it an exercise like this or real world operations. Anytime Sailors get to interact with partner nations in a controlled environment is a major win. Today’s event strengthened our ties with a strong ally in the Caribbean.”
Bilateral engagements allow both navies to strengthen tactical readiness for future operations, maintain readiness at sea, and support continued commitment to security and stability in the region.
Milwaukee conducted a similar exercises with the French Navy and Jamaican Coast Guard in February of 2022, as well as the Ecuadorian Navy in March of 2022.
Milwaukee is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.