USS Stethem (DDG 63) file photo. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Andrew Ryan Smith)

SINGAPORE - The U.S. Navy and the Royal Thai Navy are conducting Exercise Guardian Sea in the Andaman Sea May 23-27. The bilateral naval training aims to enhance cooperation between the two navies in anti-submarine warfare and maritime domain awareness.

"Guardian Sea provides our navies the opportunity and challenge of detecting and tracking submarines, and to practice procedures related to anti-submarine warfare," said Capt. H. B. Le, commodore, Destroyer Squadron Seven. "This year's exercise will be the most complex to date and we look forward to working alongside the Royal Thai Navy ashore and at sea to improve our skills and enhance our interoperability."

This year’s Guardian Sea exercise features the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63), a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol craft and a Los Angeles-class submarine operating alongside ships and aircraft from the Royal Thai Navy. Navy personnel from the U.S. 7th Fleet’s Task Force 73 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 will also participate in the exercise.

“Guardian Sea is an excellent opportunity to operate at sea in a realistic training environment with our friends and partners in the Royal Thai Navy,” said Cmdr. Doug Pegher, commanding officer, USS Stethem. “Our Sailors gain valuable experiences from these engagements and we build important maritime relationships that endure beyond the exercise.”

Along with operations at sea, the Guardian Sea exercise features a small shore phase that includes symposia and subject matter expert exchanges between the two navies.

Task Force 73 is the U.S. 7th Fleet's Theater Security Cooperation agent for South and Southeast Asia and supports exercises across the region to include the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) series, Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), the Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) with Vietnam, and the multilateral naval exercise KOMODO.