Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 09, 2018 (SKNIS): A live gunnery exercise aboard the United States Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos and the TTS Speyside out of Trinidad and Tobago served as validation for the officers of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF) Coast Guard Unit that its operations continue to be in line with the highest international standards.
On Friday (June 08), the two vessels journeyed 13 nautical miles southwest of Basseterre – the capital of St. Kitts and Nevis – to conduct the shooting exercise as part of cutter training for Phase 1 of Exercise Tradewinds 2018. Personnel from partner nations were able to fire off a number of high calibre machine guns at targets and specific locations in the sea.
Warrant Officers Class 2 Brian Mills and Nigel Williams as well as Sergeant Shervin Julius of the local coast guard unit were onboard the Joseph Tezanos in an observer capacity. WO2 Mills kept an eagle eye on the proceedings and said what stood out most were the safety and security procedures implemented on the cutter.
“We (officers) do most of our training in the United States so as a result we adopt most of their techniques so it is the norm for us to be security conscious and safety conscious and it is something we practice,” he said, noting operations at the base and while at sea.
The motto of the US Coast Guard “Semper Paratus”, a Latin phrase which means “Always Ready”, was engraved in the minds of the officers from St. Kitts and Nevis that studied at the Yorktown Training Centre in Virginia, which is where WO2 Mills and many others attended.
He expressed pleasure that the twin-island Federation was hosting the first leg of Tradewinds from June 04 to 12, noting that the men and women of the SKNDF Coast Guard Unit have fully embraced the opportunities to learn as much as possible from the various engineering and maritime activities taking place.
“It’s not every day we get to [train] with other countries and we have met new people, made friends and exchanged ideas and techniques with other professionals,” WO2 Mills said.