MEDITERRANEAN SEA – Two Hellenic naval officers arrived aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) as part of a midshipmen foreign exchange program, July 23.
The program brings junior officers and midshipmen from partner countries throughout the region aboard U.S. Navy ships to help train them in surface warfare operations while fostering relationships with the crew.
“I greatly value the opportunity afforded by the program for my officers and crew to integrate with members of foreign navies,” said Cmdr. Glen Quast, commanding officer of Farragut. “These relationships will assist our ability to conduct exercises and operations in the future to increased maritime security.”
The program gives foreign junior naval officers and midshipmen from partner navies a chance to see how everyday evolutions and training are conducted on a U.S. Navy ship and provides them a personal qualification standard (PQS) in surface warfare. They also receive a sponsor to assist them with becoming accustomed with shipboard life while completing their PQS.
“The program helps them broaden their horizons,” said Ensign Jeff Heckelman. “It lets you know that there are other ways of doing things.”
“The difference in the way things are done is not drastic,” said Ensign Alexandros Nikolakakis, a participating Hellenic navy officer. “Some of the watches are similar, and I really like the way the ship does general quarters drills because they are very realistic and in depth.”
Farragut is on a scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.