Joint Exercise Ends with Hopes for Another
ABOARD HMS ALVSBORG (AP) _ Naval forces from 12 countries on Friday ended a four-day maneuver in the Baltic Sea that improved peacetime cooperation across political, language and technological divides.
The exercises led by the U.S. Navy included allied Germany, Britain, Norway and Denmark; neutral Sweden and Finland; and formerly Communist Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
″The mere fact that despite enormous differences in language, experience and technical standards, we were successful in maneuvering together, is in itself a unique event,″ said Capt. W. Scott Slocum of the USS Deyo, the flagship for the exercise.
NATO has exercised in the Baltic Sea for the past 22 years to remind the Soviet Union that this is international waters, and the annual military phase of the maneuvers is scheduled for next week.
Slocum said at the outset of the first nonmilitary maneuvers in the Baltic with nations from outside NATO that the measure of success would be whether participants ″would want to come back to do it again.″
On the last day - after toasts and signals to disperse to home bases and port calls - Swedish Navy Lt. Cmdr. Lars Jeppsson, said, ″Personally, I would like to take part again.″
Cmdr. Christer Hagg, who led the Swedish force from HMS Alvsborg, said the nonmilitary practice sessions ″demonstrated our readiness to take part in international cooperation in the marine field.″
The former military attache to the United States also said, ″It was a kick for the crew of this ship.″
Naval ships, coast guard vessels, tankers and observers from all nations around the Baltic Sea practiced ship maneuvering, rescue, fire drills and fishing boat inspections.