Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Katelyn Shearer
Everyone enjoys having a friendly neighbor.
Someone you can borrow a cup of sugar from or ask to watch your house while you’re on vacation. Or, someone you can ask to help defend the continent, protect against illegal entry of people or weapons, and stop the flow of illicit narcotics to North America.
The biennial Trident Fury exercise, led by the Royal Canadian Navy, is designed to build and reinforce a strong working relationship between the maritime forces of the U.S. and Canada. This year, it included live gunnery exercises, maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare training.
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Active, a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Port Angeles, Washington, participated in underway Trident Fury exercises with U.S. and Canadian naval crews May 3 to 15.
Crews from Maritime Safety and Security Teams in Seattle and San Diego also lent their expertise to the latter half of the exercise.
“Operating with the U.S. and Canadian navy allows our crew to practice tactics, techniques and procedures in a controlled environment,” said Cmdr. Philip Crigler, commanding officer of Active. “Perfecting our interoperability during these training exercises ensures the success of our future joint operations while strengthening partnerships with our Canadian counterparts.”
The exercise kicked off with a visit to Victoria, British Columbia, by the Active crew. There they met with other key players, took tours of the Canadian vessels and attended military ceremonies.
After that, the crew got down to business and set sail for the western coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
It took a day or so to get acclimated, but soon it was smooth sailing for Active and the other vessels.
Active watchstanders interpreted NATO code sent by the Royal Canadian Navy vessel in charge of sailing commands. All vessels seamlessly executed timed turns and speed changes in a series of formations that sometimes lasted through the night.
The crew also got plenty of law enforcement experience. After receiving “intelligence injects” as part of the exercise, Active crews monitored and boarded three fishing vessels simulated to be suspected of smuggling narcotics. These scenarios provided great practice for those working toward their boarding team member and boarding officer qualifications.
MSST Seattle embarked Active to conduct a simulated dangerous boarding of fishing vessel when it entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca reporting a mutiny aboard. They also conducted a simultaneous boarding of a migrant vessel with Active’s boarding team.
“Trident Fury provides opportunity for all involved crews to train in real-life, cascading scenarios, said Lt. Cmdr. Matt Michaelis, executive officer of Active. “Though we routinely work closely with our Canadian and U.S. Navy partners, these exercises provide dedicated time to improve cooperation and proficiency through repetition and sharing of lessons learned.”
MSST San Diego deployed via a U.S. Navy helicopter to board a simulated vessel of interest in offshore waters. The large distance offshore necessitated the helicopter crew to “lily pad” off the deck of HMCS Calgary to refuel to complete the mission.
The Canadians took full advantage of the training opportunity, as well. Active acted as a training platform on several occasions for a royal Canadian navy Maritime Tactical Operations Group. The highly skilled boarding team used various methods to board the vessel and practiced taking control of a ship and its crew
“Joint operations such as this demonstrate the ability for the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, and the Royal Canadian navy to work together seamlessly to protect the maritime interests of our two countries,” said Lt. Cmdr. Carlos Crespo, the Pacific Area Homeland Defense Homeland Security program manager.
More than 1,200 military personnel piloting seven vessels and five different types of aircraft participated in the exercise this year.
So the next time you’re near the Canadian border, give our neighbors a wave. They play an important role in keeping our North American neighborhood safe.