USS Mount Whitney trains with SOF during JS10

BALTIC SEA – Special operations forces (SOF) from seven nations worked together to conduct several training exercises aboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC 20) Sept. 19.

The training, which focused on building SOF capacity and capabilities of partner nations, is part of exercise Jackal Stone (JS10) 2010.

“As the special operations task group liaison officer (LNO), I want to ensure good communications and effective coordination between the ground forces and the sea component,” said Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Spencer, assigned to Naval Special Warfare Unit Two. “Sometimes the various warfighters and sea combatants don’t always speak the same language.”

Elements from SOF and surface fleet combatants are taking advantage of Mount Whitney’s operational capabilities.

“Mount Whitney provides Lithuanian, Polish and U.S. SOF teams the ability to train to insert onto a large moving vessel via fast-roping or hook-and-climb techniques,” said Spencer.

Fast-roping is a military insertion technique used to deploy troops from a helicopter using braided nylon descension ropes, and is used by operators during visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations. Hook and climb is a less obvious and stealthier VBSS insertion method that uses rigid hull inflatable boats or combat rubber raiding craft to approach a suspicious vessel and climb aboard.

Communications between the ship’s crew and the operating forces is critical in this type of training environment.

“Incorporating the exercise LNOs onto Mount Whitney is critical to the successful planning and execution of this exercise,” said Lt. Tiffany Hill, Mount Whitney’s operations officer. “The LNO’s ability to see and talk to the operators increases the integration between elements that normally do not operate together. This very important and flexible linkage makes each platform or unit more effective.”

JS10 is a multinational military special operations exercise organized by Special Operations Command Europe, designed to improve international military partnerships through joint training with special forces subunits from Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, and the United States.

Mount Whitney, the flagship for the U.S. 6th Fleet, is homeported in Gaeta, Italy, and operates with a hybrid crew of U.S. Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners.

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A Hungarian Special Forces Medic, right, directs the evacuation of a simulated casualty to safety to his Romanian SOF medic counterpart during the Field Training Exercise as part of the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) course held in Udbina, Croatia. 
U.S. Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) developed and conducted the TCCC Train-the-Trainer course to enhance the SOF capability and interoperability of SOF medics from eight NATO and partner nations, but most importantly, to incorporate one recognized standard for managing trauma on the battlefield. (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Donald Sparks, SOCEUR Public Affairs Officer  â? photo approved for public release by Master Sgt. Donald Sparks, SOCEUR PAO).

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VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Republic of Georgia-In front of a color detail with the national colors of America and the Republic of Georgia and the unit colors of the U.S. Marine Corps and Georgian military, Maj. Eric J. Andersen, executive officer Black Sea Rotational Force 11 and Kent, Wash., native,  â?forms the troops for the opening ceremony of Exercise Agile Spirit 2011, marking the official start of what is scheduled to be an annual training event with the partner nation. Marines with Alpha Company of Anti-Terrorism Battalion, and 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion deployed to Georgia for their annual training to supplement the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force deployment of BSRF-11, to conduct counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations training at Vaziani Training Area. , Cpl. Tatum Vayavananda

International Cooperation

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Norwegian special operations forces clear the deck of ROS Midia (LSNS 283) as a part of Exercise Jackal Stone 2011, on Sept. 14, 2011, in Romania. Jackal Stone is an annual multinational special operations exercise designed to promote cooperation and interoperability between participating forces, build functional capacity and enhance readiness. This year nine nations are participating in various locations in Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine.

Exercise Jackal Stone

AUGUSTA BAY, Sicily (March 16, 2011) - USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC 20), the U.S. Sixth Fleet flag ship homeported out of Gaeta, Italy, and USS Ponce (LPD 15), an amphibious transport dock ship homeported out of Norfolk, Va., take on supplies while inport Augusta Bay, Sicily. Both ships are operating in the Mediterranean Sea as part of a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of responsibility.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary Keen/Released)

U.S. Naval Forces Europe

A special forces noncommissioned officer from 1st Battalion, 10 Special Forces Group (Airborne) rushes toward the ramp of an MH-47G Chinook helicopter for a fast rope insertion after receiving the exit signal from two 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) crews chiefs during the opening ceremonies of Jackal Stone 2010. Jackal Stone 10, hosted by Poland and Lithuania this year, is an annual international special operations forces (SOF) exercise held in Europe. Its objective is to enhance capabilities and interoperability amongst the participating special operations forces and as well as build mutual respect while sharing doctrinal concepts. The exercise, which is coordinated with U.S. Special Operations Command Europe, includes Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Croatia, Romania, and Ukraine participating. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jason Cauley)

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