Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Oakland (LCS 24) participated in Croix Du Sud 2023 with 14 allied and partner nations at New Caledonia, April 24 to May 8, 2023.

Croix Du Sud is designed to enhance combined interoperability through training, skills sharing, and cultural exchanges. The exercise, organized and hosted by the French Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF), is a certification event with training objectives focused on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), non-combatant evacuation operations and security operations specifically designed to strengthen coordination in the event of a disaster or security crisis in the region.

“The exercise was important to strengthen the partnerships in the event we would have to perform a HADR effort in this region,” said Cmdr. William Carroll, commanding officer, Oakland Gold crew. “I feel more confident that we understand each other in the capabilities and limitations of each of our platforms and the biggest takeaway for Oakland is how the LCS is suited well for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief if called upon.”

Foreign naval assets included River-class offshore patrol vessel HMS Spey (P234), P-400-class large patrol craft FS La Glorieuse, Mistral-class amphibious assault ship FS Dixmude (L9015) and La Fayette-class frigate FS La Fayette (F 710).

At sea, Oakland conducted small boat operations, crew exchanges, hosted tours, conducted coordinated tactical maneuvering, and communications drills. Croix Du Sud built effective military-to-military and civil-military relationships with allied and partner nations.

This exercise is an important opportunity for the U.S. to train alongside our Pacific neighbors as well as advance the relationship between the U.S. and France in the region. The participating countries share common interests in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Oakland, part of Destroyer Squadron 7, is on a rotational deployment, operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with Allies and partners and serve as a ready-response force in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

As the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed DESRON in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 serves as the primary tactical and operational commander of littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to Singapore, functions as Commander, Task Force 76/3 Sea Combat Commander, and builds partnerships through training exercises and military-to-military engagements as the executing agent of the Commander, Task Group Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training.

7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with Allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.