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U.S., Pakistani Forces Complete ‘Inspired Union 2008’

American Forces Press Service

ABOARD THE USS ROSS AT SEA, May 22, 2008 – Pakistani and U.S. naval forces completed Exercise Inspired Union 2008 in the North Arabian Sea yesterday.

The exercise focused on air, surface and anti-submarine training as part of regional maritime security operations, officials said.

Pakistani forces including PNS Badr, PNS Shahjahan, PNS Nasr and Pakistani air force explosive ordnance disposal personnel participated in the bilateral exercise along with sailors from USS Curts and USS Ross. Other U.S. forces participating included Destroyer Squadron 50 and combined task forces 54, 55 and 57.

“This exercise allowed the U.S. and the Pakistani navy to demonstrate and improve our interoperability in a variety of warfare areas,” explained Navy Capt. Paul Severs, commander of Destroyer Squadron 50. “Inspired Union focused on surface warfare; air defense; [and] visit, board, search and seizure operations, and ended with a final event using all warfare areas.”

Pakistan is an integral member of the coalition and has commanded Combined Task Force 150 twice, most recently from November through February. Coalition forces regularly operate throughout international waters in the North Arabian Sea to conduct maritime security operations, U.S. officials said.

“It was a very successful exercise,” Sever said. “From the planning conferences to the pre-sail seminars and the at-sea events, the exercise was well coordinated. Inspired Union also allowed sailors from both navies to participate in professional exchanges to understand how different coalition ships operate at sea.”

He said bilateral cooperation was key to the exercise’s success.

The exercise also provided an opportunity for Curts to visit Karachi, Pakistan, during a three-day port visit. The visit offered the crew an opportunity to plan for Inspired Union, conduct cultural exchanges, and engage in sporting events with their Pakistani counterparts.

“This is the first visit by a U.S. ship to Karachi since September 2006 and we are grateful for the opportunity to visit Pakistan,” Navy Cmdr. Yvette Davids, Curts’ commanding officer, said. “Visits by U.S. Navy ships symbolize the continued friendship and partnerships between countries and military services; it allows us to increase our cooperative engagement and exemplifies our commitment to building trust and confidence among friends worldwide.”

Maritime security operations complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists’ use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material, exercise officials said.

(From a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet news release.)

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