Ten members of the Astoria-based U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alert reversed their usual roles last Wednesday, hiding aboard the ship and acting as smugglers for a joint training exercise with the Navy.

The cutter went north for the exercise, called "Trident Fury" and taking place in waters west of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Canada's Pacific Joint Task Force Headquarters developed the drill, aimed at building a stronger working relationship between maritime and aviation forces in the United States and Canada. Multiple agencies practiced scenarios over most of last week to prepare for threats to the national security of both countries.

During the training, a boarding team from the USS Ingraham, homeported in Everett, Wash., came aboard the cutter, while 10 of the Alert's crew members hid, playing the role of smugglers trying to transport weapons and other contraband to an enemy nation.

In other parts of the training, the cutter Alert acted as a military vessel stuck in the middle of a feud between two imaginary, rival nations. The cutter's crew took the opportunity to demonstrate boarding techniques and show off some of the Coast Guard's combat capabilities, using a 25 mm gun mounted on deck and helping sink the former Canadian navy vessel Huron.

Video of the training is available at (www.uscg.mil/D13/public affairs/av)


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