By Navy Ensign Monica Prioleau, USS Gravely
ATLANTIC OCEAN -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Gonzalez conducted combined operations with the multipurpose Italian frigate ITS Alpino, May 16-17.
The training is designed to promote camaraderie and collaboration among NATO partners.
The Alpino is making several stops along the U.S. East Coast with Norfolk, Virginia, being the first.
"The crew exchange was highly beneficial to both Gonzalez's crew and Alpino's, giving rare insight into each other's daily routine, said Navy Cmdr. Les Sobol, the Gonzalez’s commanding officer.
"The [passing exercise] was an invaluable opportunity to flex multiple skillsets with our NATO partners at sea," Sobol added.
In addition to the passing exercise, Gonzalez and Alpino conducted visit, board, search and seizure exercises and light communication drills off the coast of Virginia, allowing both crews to gain familiarity and proficiency in tactical maneuvering and communications.
"ITS Alpino's high-end technology and air asset, the SH-90, was stunning to view and discuss," said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Caitlin N. Cannon. "I truly enjoyed our collaboration and I feel training events like this should be encouraged more often.”
Building relationships with allies and working as a warfighting team “is vital to NATO operations," Cannon added.
The USS Gonzalez is conducting basic phase exercises in preparation for a future deployment.