The final day of Exercise BREEZE provided a multitude of fast-paced exercises. As the sun rose over the horizon, all involved ships pulled into a tight formation with STOUT and commenced the day's events.
Among the various training goals was an important Damage Control exercise. A fire on a ship at sea is unlike a fire at land. The crew has nowhere to go. Any outside assistance is usually far away, so the crew must fight any casualties - such as fire or flooding - on their own, relying on their knowledge, training, and equipment. All U.S. Navy vessels are capable of fighting their own casualties, but for the purpose of this exercise, STOUT simulated fires and flooding and requested help from exercise participants with an exercise may-day call.
Three ships responded to our distress call, and provided assistance teams by way of small craft. Once onboard, the teams organized their gear and prepared to control the fires and flooding. Foregoing any fears over language barriers and different training methods, the Damage Control Training Team of STOUT and the Bulgarian Assistance teams worked well together.
Upon finishing the comprehensive and robust underway schedule of BREEZE 2009, STOUT and all the involved ships returned to Varna, and were treated to a wonderful concert by the Bulgarian Navy Band. Those without duty also enjoyed an evening in Varna.
At a later outbrief, the CNO of the Bulgarian Navy expressed his appreciation for the solid efforts of STOUT and her crew, and wished us well as we continue to sail in the Black Sea.