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A few dozen Navy and Military Sealift Command personnel will be taking part in a diving exercise with the Bulgarian navy this week.

Included are the fleet ocean tug USNS Apache and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two from Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va.

The Apache and MDSU-2 sailors arrived in Varna, Bulgaria, on Monday and will be conducting familiarization dives designed to test various dive tools and techniques, according to a Sealift Logistics Command Europe news release.

“This is a great opportunity for the U.S. and Bulgarian navies to work together,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Pete Sharpe, officer-in-charge of the dive unit. “All of us here aboard Apache are looking forward to diving with them, swapping stories and sharing information.”

This is the Apache’s fourth stop in a series of exercises in France, Albania and Croatia.

The 226-foot Apache provides towing services and operates as a platform for divers in the recovery of downed ships and aircraft and is operated by 15 MSC civilian mariners.

Vicenza soldier dies on his way back to baseVICENZA, Italy — A soldier assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment died early Monday morning while returning to Caserma Ederle after a night out, officials said Tuesday.

Spc. Jared Leonard, a mortar man with the battalion’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, had called for a ride back to base, according to the Southern European Task Force (Airborne) public affairs office.

The 25-year-old lost consciousness at some point during the ride. Attempts by American and Italian personnel at the gate to revive him were unsuccessful. An autopsy is planned and an investigation into his death is under way.

Leonard, from Mount Holly, N.J., is the second soldier from Vicenza to die after returning from a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan. Pfc. Christopher Woodruff, assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s Combat Support Company, was struck and killed by a train on March 2.

A memorial service for Leonard at the base chapel is pending.

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