U.S. Sixth Fleet’s Commander, Task Force (CTF) 67 held a week-long training event with the Search and Rescue System of the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) in the island to promote mutual understanding and enhance interoperability and collective capacity, Dec. 10-18, 2022.
The training event between CTF 67’s Commander, Task Group (CTG) 67.6, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center Larnaca (JRCC), the Cyprus 460th Search and Rescue (SAR) Squadron, the Cyprus Navy and the Port and Marine Police centered on SAR training. Helicopters from each team set out, under coordination from the JRCC, to find and recover rescue dummies lost at sea or stranded on the side of a cliff and complete a hoist to the back of a small moving vessel of Cyprus Navy and Port and Marine Police. Both teams located, recovered, and treated their dummies, and all events were highly successful. Bilateral training like this underscores the strong relationship between the U.S. Navy and the SAR System of RoC.
“The events this week gave our crews an outstanding opportunity to work with and learn from a critical partner in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tim McNerney, officer-in-charge (OIC) of the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 ‘Ghostriders’ of CTG 67.6. “Our Cypriot counterparts are true professionals with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in Search and Rescue. We sincerely appreciate their profound hospitality and professionalism. This was an unforgettable week for my team as we flew in formation with a partner from another country, searched for and found two dummies in the middle of the ocean at night, and hoisted another from the side of a cliff. The many friendships we made and experiences we shared here will endure forever.”
Lt. Cmdr. George Economou, Operations Officer of JRCC Larnaca 2, echoed McNerney’s comments about the value of bilateral training among the two nations.
“This was a great opportunity for the entities of the SAR System of Republic of Cyprus to execute SAR exercise and training drills with counterparts in the U.S. Navy,” Economou said. “We are glad for the opportunity given to the personnel of SAR System of RoC to participate in an International SAR exercises with the helicopter of U.S. Navy, enriching their experiences in SAR matters.”
This training evolution is the latest in a strong year of bilateral operations and exercises between the U.S. and RoC. Multiple ships and submarines have conducted port visits and operations in and around Cyprus this year as the partners continue to work together to promote security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Commander, Task Force 67 is composed of land-based maritime patrol, rotary wing, and electronic attack aircraft that operate throughout the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) area of operations. The task force provides responsive, interoperable, and expeditionary combat ready maritime patrol aircraft and supporting forces to NAVEUR-NAVAF, U.S. Sixth Fleet, NATO and Unified Commanders to conduct effective anti-submarine warfare, provide factual, credible, actionable intelligence, targeting information, and promote cooperative maritime security in order to enhance regional stability to fight and win our Nation’s wars.
For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with our Allies and Partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.