USS McCAMPBELL, At Sea (NNS) -- USS McCampbell (DDG 85), in conjunction with numerous other U.S. Navy assets, participated in Exercise Valiant Shield June 19-23, a three-carrier exercise simulating anti-submarine, air and surface operations in the Pacific.
McCampbell, on the way home to San Diego after spending 98 days in the Persian Gulf as part of the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Carrier Strike Group, was assigned to the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Carrier Strike Group to protect the carrier in an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) environment during the exercise.
"We were tasked to defend the high-value unit (carrier) during a multi-carrier ASW exercise," said Lt. j.g. Steve Brown, one of McCampbell's ASW coordinators.
Exercise Valiant Shield spanned five days of 24-hour ASW operations. "It is definitely trying, standing watch 12 hours a day. People get weary of sitting at the same console for so long," said Lt. j.g. Joe Donahue, McCampbell's ASW Officer, "but we successfully accomplished our mission of screening the Lincoln, and our ASW team had a great opportunity to get some really good training."
McCampbell, in conjunction with its embarked air detachment, Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (Light) (HSL) 49, Detachment 5, clearly defined itself as an effective ASW platform throughout the exercise.
"The planning and dedication of the ASW and other tactical watchstanders contributed to McCampbell's mission success," added Brown.
"We ran into a couple of obstacles at first," said Sonar Technician (Surface) 3rd Class James Lockhart. "We had to coordinate with ships we've never worked with before and learn to communicate. In the end we pulled it together and found a lot of submarines."
Sonar Technician (Surface) 3rd Class Chris Karass, said he was excited at the performance of the team and the ship's equipment. "We were able to use our sonar to its maximum capability; basically, we made the best use of everything we have. This gave us a chance to get better at using our own equipment," he said.
"I think this exercise shows that we have the ability to defend any U.S. and coalition force that travels into harm's way," said Brown.
"I feel confident that, if tested in a real-world environment, we would be successful in defending the high-value unit. Very confident," said Donahue.
Exercise Valiant Shield is the second major ASW exercise McCampbell has participated in since embarking on a six-month deployment regularly scheduled deployment.
"I think we proved to all the other ships that McCampbell is elite," added Lockhart. "We proved it in Hawaii and again here with the most prosecutions. McCampbell is pretty much the number one ship."
"The Anti-Submarine Warfare operations throughout Valiant Shield unequivocally validate McCampbell's ability to bring conclusive results to the fight," said Cmdr. Vincent McBeth, McCampbell's commanding officer. "Our team executed a very complex mission with numerous moving parts and they did so to perfection. I am extremely proud of this team."
To learn more about Valiant Shield, visit the Web site at www.pacom.mil.
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.