SOUDA BAY, Crete (May 30, 2011) – Two lead coxswains from USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49) First Division joined several colleagues from the Greek armed forces to conduct a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) evolution here during a May 30 Phoenix Express 2011 (PE-11) training course.
The RHIB training taught the Bradley coxswains how to properly maneuver a RHIB alongside of a ship to allow Bradley’s Visit, Board, Search and Seizure team to successfully climb aboard a vessel suspected of illicit trafficking.
RHIB training is an essential aspect of PE-11’s maritime interdiction operations (MIO) evolutions, and will help train one of the Bradley coxswains to assume the role of lead RHIB driver, as the current lead prepares to head to his next command later in the year.
“It’s a welcome change to come to a country that has experienced coxswains who can help us train,” said Boatswain’s Mate First Class (SW/AW) Ryan McClain, the Bradley’s current lead RHIB driver who heads to USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) in November 2011. “PE-11 is one of the best opportunities this ship has to train our junior personnel and gain some much-needed experience.”
“It was an awesome experience, being able to drive a RHIB with two engines, as opposed to a RHIB with only one engine, which is what I’m used to driving,” said Boatswain’s Mate Third Class Anthony Woo, who will assume the responsibility of lead RHIB driver aboard the Bradley when McClain departs for the Truman in November. “A RHIB with two engines is much faster, and it maneuvers differently, so it definitely makes me more diverse – not only in what kind of RHIB I can drive, but also what I can do in a RHIB I’m used to driving.”
Lt. Spyros Lagios, a coxswain in the Greek armed forces, said the RHIB exercise with the Bradley coxswains was a productive way for both militaries to trade insight on their respective skill sets when navigating the RHIB.
“This kind of training, where we are all in the same boat, so to speak, is a great way to not only familiarize ourselves with one another, but also ensure we are speaking the same language when it comes to the RHIB,” said Lagios. “The objective is to verify that we are on the same training level, getting the most out of each other’s experience.”
As for the experience Woo gained from driving a much larger RHIB than he is used to navigating, his Bradley mentor and shipmate McClain said he had no doubts his replacement will be ready to fill the void of his departure.
“It was great to see him focusing out here and picking up this training experience,” said McClain. “I can tell he knows what he’s doing and knows the responsibility this position of lead driver requires.”
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe -U.S. Naval Forces Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.