US Navy Seals helping to train our personnel
Published on: Monday, August 20, 2018
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Kota Kinabalu: Joint training involving the Malaysian navy and elite US Navy Seals in Semporna is being seen as a warning to would-be terrorists that nothing is being left to chance where Sabah's security is concerned.Ten members of the American naval commando group and two from the Green Beret, the US Army's special forces, are taking part in Exercise Flash Mint 2018 held from Aug 2 until 21.

The exercise is the first of its kind between the US Navy Seals and KD Sri Semporna, which is a unit of the Royal Malaysian Navy's special forces group called "Pasukan Khas Laut" or more commonly known as Paskal.

Previously, such trainings were held at the Malaysian navy base in Lumut, Perak.

"This is the inaugural training between our unit and the US Navy Seals and our second with American special forces," KD Sri Semporna Commanding Officer Cdr Noor Azley Othman told Daily Express.

"The first joint-training was held last year with the Green Berets. This time around, 30 Paskal members from KD Sri Semporna are training together with the US Navy Seals."

The exercise is held at several locations around the east coast district of Sabah such as the Ladang Pinang forest reserve, Semporna naval base and the waters off Manampilik and Batik Islands.

"The annual training focuses more on subject matter expertise and training exchange with both parties sharing experience, techniques and tactics in carrying out maritime special operations," said Noor Azley.

"Such an exercise is important to gauge both sides' competency and as a show of presence in the waters of Semporna that sends the message our waters are being guarded vigilantly by our security and defence forces.

"It also acts a deterrent to any groups who may want to cause trouble in our territory."

Sunday's session on Batik Island was the final phase of training in which both Paskal and Seals simulated an attack on enemy position.

"The Seals' equipment was more up-to-date than ours but in terms of techniques and tactics, we are at par," said Noor Azley.

"Last year, we trained with the Green Beret. We will request an exercise with them again next year because they are more focused and very serious in training."

This year's exercise is unique because it involved three units – Paskal, Seals and Green Beret.

The training is held in several phases including close-quarter battle, jungle and maritime operations, survival and explosives.

KD Sri Semporna is only one of two Paskal units nationwide, with the other based in Lumut.

Paskal took part in several international operations such as the United Nations Operation in Somalia II from 1993 to 1995 and the ongoing Operation Enduring Freedom at the Horn of Africa to combat militancy and piracy.

The commando group was also involved in domestic and regional engagements such as the 2013 Lahad Datu standoff with Sulu militants and 2015 rescue of the hijacked Malaysian tanker, Orkim Harmony, in the South China Sea.

Seals is the abbreviation for the US Navy's Sea, Air and Land Teams, which are trained to operate in all environments and whose main functions are conducting small-unit maritime military operations.

Their most impressive operation to date was the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, who was blamed for the twin tower attacks in New York in 2000. - Zam Yusa



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