USS The Sullivans conducts interoperability exercise with Tunisian Navy


The US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) and Tunisian Navy offshore patrol vessels TNS Jugurtha (P610) and TNS Carthage (P503), conducted multiple tactical operations to enhance maritime security and increase interoperability between the two navies in early November.

“Working side by side with our Tunisian partners was the perfect end to our multi-national interoperability deployment,” said Commander James Diefenderfer, commanding officer of The Sullivans. “Learning from our Tunisian shipmates improves the overall coordination between our countries and our way of conducting operations at sea. I am grateful for this opportunity to work so close as with our African partners.”

The two navies executed a visit board search and seizure (VBSS) exercise, search and rescue (SAR) integrated training, simulated air defence exercises, tactical manoeuvring exercises and a live fire exercise between 5 and 6 November, the US Navy said.

During the boarding exercise, a United States Naval Academy (USNA) 2020 graduate was a part of the VBSS team from the TNS Jugurtha (P610). He was a foreign exchange student, from Tunisia, in 8th Company at USNA. While on board, he had the opportunity to reunite with two of his classmates who are stationed aboard The Sullivans, Ensign Gabriella Baltimore and Ensign Megan Gravette.

“It was such a surprise to see a classmate from the USNA during a multi-national exercise with the Tunisians,” said Ensign Gabriella Baltimore. “I did not expect to see a familiar face during deployment, let alone from another country’s Navy. This reunion goes to show the connections we made at USNA are life long and across many borders.”