Saturday, July 17, 2010

Benevolent Phoenix 2010: Sri Lanka shares expereince with US Navy


Photo courtesy: US Navy

By Shamindra Ferdinando | The Island
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Sri Lanka has shared her experience in fighting Sea Tigers with the US Navy during a three-day visit to Trincomalee by USS Pearl Harbour this week.

The San Diego-based Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship left Trincomalee yesterday following a joint exercise with Sri Lanka’s elite Special Boat Squadron (SBS) and US Marines. Since the conclusion of the war in May last year, the Indian navy was the first to receive a firsthand experience in SBS expertise in an exercise conducted off Colombo.


The Navy played a pivotal role in thwarting attempts by the LTTE and the Tamil Diaspora to evacuate the LTTE leadership following the fall of Kilinochchi in the first week of January 2009. The SBS and Rapid Action Boat Squadron (RABS) battled LTTE units, in some instances led by explosives-packed ‘stealth’ boats off Mullaitivi-Chalai seas until the Army finished off the LTTE on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon in May last year.

Sources said that the global community should work together to neutralise terrorist threats on security and economic stability. Responding to a query by The Island, sources said that there should be common front against terrorism.

US Navy in a report from Trincomalee dated July 13 reported in its official website that sailors and Marines aboard USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) arrived in Trincomalee to participate in exercise Benevolent Phoenix 2010.

"The mission in Sri Lanka is a fantastic opportunity to get quality mil-to-mil training and to share our knowledge and experience in amphibious operations while strengthening our partnership with Sri Lanka," the website quoted Lt. j.g. Robert Rusticus, the ship’s boatswain.

While some Sailors and Marines are planning to help with military-to-military training on board Pearl Harbor, others are planning on volunteering for medical assistance events ashore. One such volunteer, Religious Programs Specialist 3rd Class Jennifer Louviere, will be participating in a medical event that will be held in Trincomalee.

"My passion in life is helping those in need, especially when I get the chance to help someone in need of medical attention. It’s a privilege to help and I feel honored to serve," said Louviere.

"We look forward to creating a strong relationship with the Sri Lankan Navy by engaging in a two-way professional military exchange as well as experiencing the country’s unique culture," the website quoted Cmdr. Dave Guluzian, Pearl Harbor’s commanding officer as saying. "Our visit demonstrates the cooperation between the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the United States of America in promoting peace and stability both in theater and around the globe."

© The Island


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