October 7, 2020 – The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) executed a passing exercise (PASSEX) with naval counterparts from El Salvador in the Eastern Pacific Ocean October 6.
PASSEXs are unit exercises requiring cooperation, communication and interoperability between two or more navies, testing advanced ship maneuvering and tactics. PASSEXs afford the opportunity for partner nations to develop a greater trust, understanding and respect for each other’s unique capabilities all while improving crews’ knowledge and demonstrating shared tactics.
El Salvador had five ships participating in the event alongside USS Gabrielle Giffords. “We as a crew feel honored to have the opportunity to learn from our El Salvadoran counterparts,” said Cmdr. Rion W. Martin, commanding officer of Gabrielle Giffords. “This exercise enables our forces to refine our maritime skills and continue to strengthen the relationship with El Salvador.”
For the Sailors aboard participating ships, it was also their chance to improve their skills with their El Salvadoran counterparts sailing alongside. The forces conducted division tactics (DIVTACS), a series of tactical shipboard movements and communications checks.
“The El Salvadoran Naval detachment’s performance and bearing throughout this exercise was in line with the highest traditions of Naval Service. I am honored to have had the opportunity to strengthen our partnership and work together with another exceptionally professional Navy. I look forward to future exercises and cooperative opportunities with the El Salvadoran Navy.” said Lt. Killingsworth, Gifford’s Officer of the Deck during the exercise.
USS Gabrielle Giffords 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.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.