U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Mark Veazey has come — or perhaps rather gone — a long way from Meadowcreek High School and Lilburn.
Veazey, who graduated from Meadowcreek in 2007, participated in Exercise Phoenix Express 2021 last month. The exercise involved 11 nations working together in maritime exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of north Africa.
“Throughout the planning lifecycle of the exercise, I determine how U.S. and partner forces are going to communicate with each other,” Veazey said. “This includes radio, internet, and satellite communications from ship to ship and ship to shore.”
Navy officials said the purpose of Exercise Phoenix Express, which is one of three regional exercises that U.S. Naval Forces Africa participates in, is to build cooperation among nations operating in the region, as well as promoting safety and security in the region and building maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, and operational capabilities.
In addition to the U.S., nations participating in the exercises include: Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco and Spain.
Exercise Phoenix Express 2021 was the 16th version of the maritime exercise in north African waters, and the exercise control group was hosted at the La Goulette naval base in Tunis, Tunisia. It ran from May 17 until May 28.
“It is extremely important to me to work together with partner nations while helping each other improve our capabilities and become more comfortable working with one another,” Veazey said. “The best and most important part of these exercises to me, are the friendships and cultural interactions between members of so many different countries.”
Rear Admiral Jeffrey S. Spivey added, “Exercise Phoenix Express is an opportunity for the U.S. Navy to work side-by-side with our allies and partners to provide collaborative opportunities amongst African forces and international partners in order to address maritime security concerns.
“May we continue to further the region’s capacity to secure and protect its maritime domain through cooperation and teamwork.”