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UK Royal Navy’s HMS Dragon docks in Charleston after joining US naval exercises

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HMS Dragon

The U.K. Royal Navy's HMS Dragon has made a port of call to Charleston. The Daring-class air-defense destroyer is docked at the South Carolina Ports Authority Columbus Street terminal. She was launched in November 2008 and commissioned on April 20, 2012. Brad Nettles/Staff

A U.K. Royal Navy destroyer has docked in Charleston after taking part in military exercises with the U.S. Navy.

The HMS Dragon, an air-defense destroyer, arrived in Charleston on Monday after taking part in weeklong exercises with the USS Eisenhower-led Carrier Strike Group off the East Coast, according to a statement by the Royal Navy.

The destroyer will depart from Charleston on Friday, said Liz Crumley, a spokeswoman for the S.C. Ports Authority. 

"HMS Dragon protected the air, learning how air defense operations are conducted within a U.S. task group, and reaffirming bonds with the U.S. Navy," according to the statement.

During a portion of the exercise, some of the Dragon's crew members exchanged places with crew on the USS San Jacinto, a Ticonderoga Class cruiser, to work more closely with their U.S. counterparts and get a taste of life aboard an American cruiser.

"We’ve been very closely linked with the USS San Jacinto ... seeing how they conduct air defense operations, and taking some very valuable lessons back to the UK Carrier Strike Group," said Cmdr. Giles Palin, commanding officer of the Dragon.

The destroyer will return to its deployment with the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and other vessels of the U.K.'s Carrier Strike Group that are currently deployed on Westlant 19 — an operation aimed at testing the Queen Elizabeth and her F-35 jets off the Eastern Seaboard, according to the Royal Navy.

American personnel from the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps will also take part in Westlant 19.

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Reach Gregory Yee at 843-937-5908. Follow him on Twitter @GregoryYYee.

Gregory Yee covers breaking news and public safety. He's a native Angeleno and previously covered crime and courts for the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, CA. He studied journalism and Spanish literature at the University of California, Irvine.

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