US, Malaysia conduct closing ceremony for historic MTA

A closing ceremony for the annual Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Malaysia 2019 was held at Lumut Naval Base, 18 Aug. MTA Malaysia 2019 is a continuation of 25 years of maritime engagements between the U.S. Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), serving to enhance mutual capabilities in ensuring maritime security and stability. 2019 marks the first year that the U.S. Coast Guard and their counterparts, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) have participated in maritime engagement exercises together.

US NAVY photo

MTA is an adaptable, flexible exercise. Its scenarios are tailored with inputs from the United States and Malaysia to meet the maritime security objectives of both navies, such as counter-piracy, counter-smuggling, maritime interception operations, and port security. MTA is also a venue to share the latest best practices in search and rescue, military law and medicine, and replenishment-at-sea.

“For 25 years we have worked together with our partners from the Royal Malaysian Armed Forces, and we share a comprehensive partnership built on trust and a continued commitment to train and engage in various maritime situations,” said Capt. Matthew Jerbi, commodore of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7. “This speaks to the importance that both our navies and coast guards place on the sustained operability, and we look forward to working with our partners at every opportunity.”

The exercise involved both an ashore and at-sea phase, demonstrating both navies’ and coast guards’ commitment to applying learned techniques and tactics while operating together. Highlighting this year’s sea phase, the U.S. Navy’s MH-60S, U.S. Coast Guard’s MH-65 and Royal Malaysian Navy’s Super Lynx helicopters all practiced landings on decks of participating ships. Additionally, the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3) and the underway replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) participated in MTA, which included a replenishment-at-sea (RAS) approach exercise and tactical maneuvers with vessels from the RMN and MMEA.

Personnel from both nations engaged in visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) training, division tactics (DIVTACS) to enhance cooperative fleet maneuvers, joint gunnery exercise (GUNEX), and robust joint diving and salvage training and execution.

During the shore phase, Sailors from Commander, Task Force (CTF) 73, DESRON 7, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, USS Montgomery (LCS 8), USCGC Stratton (WMSL 752), and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 participated in professional symposia to share best practices in military operations and law, damage control, military medicine, aviation maintenance and operations, port security and diving and salvage.

The U.S. 7th Fleet rock band “Orient Express”, together with the RBN band, played a public concert in Lumut in front of more than 1,000 people. In addition to the public concert, the band played two community service concerts at the Community Rehabilitation Center Nur Hidayah Healing Center for children and the Rumah Wawasan Orphanage.

“Significant personnel and surface asset participation in MTA Malaysia 2019 allowed for robust shore and sea phase interoperability among our US Navy, US Coast Guard, RMN, and MMEA friends,” said Lt. Matt Ziesmer, exercise planner assigned to Commander, Destroyer Squadron 7. “We look forward to continue building our relationship in future engagements.”

All together, more than 300 U.S. Sailors and Coast Guardsmen participated in MTA Malaysia. MTA is the premier naval engagement with the RMN and remains a credible venue to address shared maritime security challenges, strengthen maritime partnerships and enhance interoperability.

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. C7F.NAVY.MIL