USS MUSTIN (NNS) -- USS Mustin (DDG 89) successfully completed Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 05-02 Jan. 30 off the coast of Southern California.
The 12-day exercise brought together Mustin and other ships and aircraft of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Strike Group to conduct a final series of advanced training exercises before the commencement of their deployment.
Mustin participated in several major exercises, including an anti-submarine warfare exercise (ASWEX), numerous simulated Tomahawk strike missions, an air defense exercise, and exercises with naval special warfare forces.
Mustin played a prominent role in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise in which the ship, in conjunction with USS O'Kane (DDG 77), USS Antietam (CG 54), Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 45 and 49, and Patrol Squadron (VP) 40, tracked and conducted simulated engagements on the submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717), which played the role of a hostile submarine. Although difficult and physically tiring, the four-day tracking exercise provided Mustin's ASW team a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Ens. Phillip Moore, Mustin's anti-submarine warfare officer, said he was especially pleased by the performance of his sonar operators and their advanced tracking equipment.
"Mustin's sonar operators are among the best at active sonar operations," Moore said. "Since we don't have a tail (passive towed sonar array), we are forced to compensate by training extensively on the use of our active sensors."
According to Sonar Technician Surface 2nd Class (SW) James Nugent, one of two sonar supervisors during the exercise, ASWEX was, "a very good training experience. We learned how to use the PC-IMAT sound performance prediction system and also gained immense experience working with other ships in a battlegroup environment."
In addition to searching for Olympia, Mustin also served as the Search and Attack Unit Commander (SAUC) for a significant portion of ASWEX. The crew of Mustin distinguished itself by successfully coordinating submarine search and prosecution with other assets of the Strike Group.
"ASWEX demonstrated that a (warship of Austin's class) is one of the best platforms to handle SAUC responsibilities for an ASW prosecution," said Moore. "Due to its extensive communications capabilities, embarked helicopter detachment, and highly trained air controllers, Mustin is especially adept at controlling multiple air and surface platforms."
Mustin's role in JTFEX was not confined solely to anti-submarine warfare. The ship also participated in several special warfare force exercises, in which members of SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) Team 7 embarked Mustin to conduct a variety of sea-borne operations.
Cmdr. Michael J. Ford, Mustin's commanding officer, said that the JTFEX served as the, "final step in the certification of Mustin and the entire strike group to deploy as a joint capable force. The teams performed superbly, and Mustin's performance, as well as that of the entire strike group, was the direct result of solid leadership from the CCSG (Commander, Carrier Strike Group) 3 and CDS (Commander, Destroyer Squadron) 31 team, combined with the hard work of dedicated and motivated Sailors and Airmen."
Mustin deployed in February as part of the Carl Vinson Strike Group. Mustin is a member of Destroyer Squadron 23 and is homeported in San Diego.
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