LUMUT, Malaysia - The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard and the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) began Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Malaysia 2019 during an opening ceremony at Lumut Naval Base, Aug. 14.
MTA Malaysia 2019 is a continuation of 25 years of maritime engagements between the U.S. Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy serving to enhance mutual capabilities in ensuring maritime security and stability.
U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander of Coast Guard Area Pacific, said that working alongside the U.S. Navy and international partners in this exercise is an important part of their mission in the Indo-Pacific. “We are proud to operate with our Malaysian partners, and together we are dedicated to strengthening maritime governance and security in support of peace and prosperity throughout the region.”
This year also marks 62 years of diplomatic partnership between the U.S. and Malaysia.
Vice Admiral Dato’ Aris Adi Tan Bin Abdullah, commander of Royal Malaysian Navy Western Fleet, said the conduct of this MTA is significant because in addition to the U.S. Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy, it is the first time this exercise has involved the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard. “It also provides better opportunity for both navies and coast guards to exchange knowledge and thoughts while developing a mutual understanding,” he said.
This year’s exercise will feature hundreds of sailors and coast guardsmen from both nations who will come together throughout five days of at-sea and onshore training designed to enhance naval interoperability.
Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, commander of Task Force 73, who oversees theater security cooperation for the U.S. Navy in Southeast Asia, said this exercise with Malaysia is another layer to the strong and enduring navy-to-navy relationships in the Indo-Pacific.
At sea, participants will engage in hands-on training in visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS), mobile dive and salvage, a gunnery exercise, maritime patrol operations and Replenishment at-sea. Onshore, there will be subject matter exchanges in aviation, woman’s leadership, damage control, military law, public affairs, and medicine.
“MTA Malaysia 2019 will include robust training covering a wide spectrum of naval operations,” said Capt. Matthew Jerbi, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 7. “This year's schedule of events builds upon decades of side-by-side training that has allowed us to constantly evolve and push the boundaries of maritime bilateral capabilities, and we look forward to working with our Malaysian partners throughout the week.”
Additionally, sports exchanges and community outreach events are scheduled to be held throughout the duration of the exercise in local schools and community centers as well as joint band performances at multiple venues by the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet Band and the Royal Malaysian Navy Band.
U.S. assets participating in MTA Malaysia will feature the Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8), U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stratton (WMSL 752), Safeguard-class salvage ship USNS Salvor (ARS 52), expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3), Mobile Dive and Salvage Unit 1, an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter and a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.
Royal Malaysian Navy assets include Lekiu-class frigate KD Lekiu (F30) and Kasturi-class corvette KD Kasturi (FSG 25), RMN Diving Unit, CB90 fast assault craft, a Super Lynx helicopter and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) vessel KM Marlin.
Maritime Training Activity Malaysia builds upon 25 years of maritime engagement between the U.S. and Malaysia as well as other exercises in South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands including Pacific Partnership, the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission, Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama with the Philippines, Pacific Griffin with Singapore and Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), which involves nearly a dozen partner nations. These engagements bring like-minded naval forces together routinely based on shares values and maritime security interests.
As U.S. 7th Fleet's executive agent for theater security cooperation in South and Southeast Asia, Commander, Task Force 73 and Destroyer Squadron 7 conduct advanced planning, organize resources, and directly support the execution of CARAT and other engagements in the region.