About 400 U.S. sailors from the USS O’Bannon, a destroyer based in Mayport, Fla., and P-3C Orion aircraft from Sigonella, Italy, Sunday began an annual trilateral search-and-rescue training exercise with navies from Israel and Turkey, officials said.
The O’Bannon is on a scheduled deployment to 6th Fleet as part of a surface strike group under the Navy’s Fleet Response Plan. The seventh annual “Reliant Mermaid” exercise, which runs through Thursday, is designed to help the U.S., Israeli and Turkish navies work together, and will take place in international waters off the Israeli coast, according to a 6th Fleet press release. The three navies will practice coordinated emergency search-and-rescue procedures and build familiarization with one another’s capabilities, the release stated.
Sigonella cautious after Etna burp
SIGONELLA, Sicily — Mount Etna “burped” ash this weekend, pompting Naval Air Station Sigonella officials to warn servicemembers and families to steer clear of the active volcano, base spokesman Lt. Steve Curry said.
The volcano emitted less ash than experts first anticipated in the morning hours on Saturday, and no one sought medical treatment, Curry said. Often, ash can cause eye irritations and breathing difficulties, he said. The warning was later lifted.
Vulcanologists in the city of Catania, near the air station, advised base officials that emission of ash came from the southeast crater of the mountain, the same side as both NAS Signonella I and II, he said. No ash reached either base, he said.