HMS Illustrious hosts US sailors for exercise

HMS Illustrious

HMS Illustrious

Michelle Bates, WO2 Lloyd Gillingham, Noah, six, and Gunner Ryan Hancock
Pictures: Habibur Rahman

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THE crew of HMS Illustrious proved the ‘special relationship’ with the US is alive and well by welcoming American sailors on board for a training exercise.

The Portsmouth-based helicopter carrier is taking part in the Royal Navy’s Exercise Joint Warrior.

As part of the multinational war games held off the coast of Scotland, the ship’s company welcomed members of US Destroyer Squadron 26.

Captain Cary Krause, the commodore of Destroyer Squadron 26, said: ‘When the opportunity to work side by side with the crew of the HMS Illustrious presented itself, we immediately put into motion a plan to get my staff and me on board to make the most out of Exercise Joint Warrior.’

Elements of the training mission include realistic scenarios such as small boat attacks, boarding operations, air defence, anti-warfare, and ship manoeuvrability tasks.

Captain Mike Utley, the commanding officer of HMS Illustrious, said they were excited to work with their US counterparts.

He added: ‘I am particularly looking forward to being able to build on the already outstanding relationship that exists between the US and Royal Navy.’

A total of 31 ships and three submarines from the UK, US, Netherlands, France, Denmark, Turkey and Norway are taking part.

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