The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and Royal Canadian Navy concluded a two-day joint exercise on Feb. 17 and 18, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Salish Sea.
The exercise involved multiple United States and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) assets and crews. The training was conducted to prepare Royal Canadian Navy crews for deployments to support United States counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific Ocean.
- U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Blue Shark
- U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Osprey
- U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles MH-65 Dolphin helicopter
- U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound Joint Harbor Operations Center
- U.S. Naval Air Station Whidbey Island P-8 Poseidon fixed-wing aircraft
- Royal Canadian Navy Kingston-class coastal defense vessel HMCS Saskatoon
- Royal Canadian Navy Kingston-class coastal defense vessel HMCS Yellowknife
Canadian Armed Forces ships and aircraft regularly deploy to the Caribbean and eastern Pacific regions on a rotational basis to support the United States mission to suppress drug trafficking in international waters. This augmentation to the United States counter-narcotics mission helps to prevent illicit narcotics from reaching illegal markets in both the United States and Canada, and reaffirms the enduring partnership between the two nations. Over the past 15 years, CAF assets and crews have contributed to the disruption or seizure of more than 123 tons of cocaine.
“This joint naval exercise between the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and Royal Canadian Navy demonstrates the strength of our commitment and partnership to secure each country’s shared maritime safety, security, and economic interests,” said Capt. Patrick Hilbert, Commander of Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound. “We are incredibly proud to support HMCS Saskatoon and Yellowknife for their upcoming deployment and look forward to future opportunities to improve our interoperability and mission effectiveness in response to threats across the Pacific region.”
During a deployment scheduled for later this spring, HMCS Saskatoon and HMCS Yellowknife will work closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy. This exercise conducted in the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the Salish Sea effectively developed collaborative interdiction tactics, communication capabilities, and ensured that the Royal Canadian Naval vessels and crews are ready to integrate with their United States counterparts.
“The last two days saw the culmination of training of the crews of HMC Ships Yellowknife and Saskatoon,” said Lt. Cmdr. Nadia Shields, Task Force Commander and Commanding Officer HMCS Saskatoon. “Training with the U.S. Coast Guard proved our readiness for our upcoming operation, and I have the utmost confidence in these sailors to be exemplary representatives of Canada and accomplish mission success.”