USS STOUT, At sea — Naval forces from Israel, Turkey, and the U. S. conducted the underway portion of exercise Reliant Mermaid 2009 Aug. 19, as they departed from Aksaz Turkish Naval Base and entered the East Mediterranean Sea.
Sailors from each navy embarked aboard the other nations' flagships, as part of the exercise's focus on increasing interoperability between participating nations. USS Stout (DDG 55) hosted both Turkish and Israeli naval officers for the underway portion.
Naval forces from all participating nations have had the opportunity to observe the operating procedures of other navies, to interact with sailors from different countries and to build important relationships.
"Out at sea, whether transiting or conducting operations, it is important to know and understand our partner nations," said Cdr. Mark J. Oberley, commanding officer of Stout. "The relationships that I built with foreign naval officers during previous international exercises and operations are still beneficial to me today. Building strong maritime partnerships happen at many levels during these exercises and are absolutely essential."
Reliant Mermaid is an annual trilateral search and rescue exercise between Israel, Turkey and the United States. At-sea events included multiple search and rescue scenarios, tactical maneuvering of ships in formation and helicopter re-supply. The exercise is designed to improve interoperability and cooperation among participating countries.