US, Lebanese Armed Forces participate in Resolute Response 19

Members of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Marine Commando Regiment pull alongside a ship as part of a visit, board, search and seizure drill during exercise Resolute Response (RR) 19. RR19 is an annual bilateral explosive ordnance disposal and maritime security exercise between U.S. 5th Fleet and LAF to enhance mutual capabilities and interoperability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dawson Roth/Released)
July 23, 2019

U.S. and Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) participated in exercise Resolute Response (RR) 19 in Lebanon June 28- July 14.

RR19 is an annual bilateral engagement between the U.S. Navy and LAF with the focus of sharing knowledge, insight and strategy in the fields of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), dive operations, civil military operations and visit, board, search and seizure.

The exercise served to enhance military relations and strengthen the partnership between the U.S. and Lebanese Republic. This cooperation demonstrates both nations’ commitment to the freedom of navigation in the region, promoting long-term security and stability.

LAF navy 1st Lt. Ralf Abi Ghanem explained that RR19 provides the perfect platform for the U.S. and LAF to share techniques, build new operational procedures and adapt to changing environments.

“It was a pleasure working alongside the U.S. forces and a very enriching experience,” said Ghanem. “This joint exercise has boosted and perfected both strategical and tactical skills of both forces and served as a reminder of how efficient we can operate together. We are looking forward for future encounters to solidify this strong bond we have between our forces.”

Lt. Christopher Anthony, commander of Task Element, expressed his gratitude towards the LAF for their hospitality and looks forward to future operations with them.

“Working alongside the LAF is a humbling reminder of how highly capable our forces can be during combined operations,” said Anthony. “This exercise has broadened the tactical proficiency of both forces and serves to ensure we are poised to defeat any adversaries together.”

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class John Schmidt, a deep sea diving medical technician assigned to Task Group 56.1, taught medical procedures and tactical combat causality care to more than 60 LAF personnel during RR19.

“It has been rewarding working alongside the LAF, who want to improve their knowledge of dive medicine, recompression chamber operations and diving emergency protocols,” said Schmidt.

RR19 is just one of more than 60 exercises that the U.S. Navy conducts with more than 30 nations in the U.S. Central Command area of operations each year. These exercises are vital to the free flow of commerce in the region.

U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.