ABOARD USS COLE, At Sea (NNS) -- The guided missile frigate USS John L. Hall (FFG 32), and guided missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG 61) and USS Cole (DDG 67), led by Commander, Destroyer Squadron 24, departed Naval Station Norfolk Sept. 23 to participate in Exercise Joint Warrior 2009.
Joint Warrior is a multi-warfare exercise designed to improve interoperability between allied navies and prepare participating crews to conduct combined operations during deployments.
The exercise, which is scheduled to commence Oct. 5 - 23, promotes Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet's three focus areas: conducting safe and effective fleet operations to achieve mission, providing ready maritime forces for global assignment, and teaming with allies and partners in execution of the maritime strategy.
Hall, Ramage, and Cole, along with ships from the Royal Navy, Canadian Forces, the Royal Danish Navy, the Brazilian Navy, and the Turkish Navy will be participating. The Royal Navy's HMS Illustrious (R 06), Northumberland (F 238), Portland (F 79), Bangor (M 109), Penzance (M 106), and Shoreham (M 112); the Canadian Force's ship HMCS Halifax (FFH 330), Montreal (FFH 336), Athabaskan (DDH 282), and Preserver (AOR 510); the Royal Danish Navy's HDMS Absalon (L 16); the Brazilian Navy's BNS Defensora (F 41); and the Turkish Navy's TCG Orucreis (F 245), will be divided into separate groups to represent fictional forces. Scenarios will include small boat attacks, exercise air defense, anti-submarine warfare, and boarding operations. Ships will be required to respond appropriately in order to accomplish their mission.
"The ships are going to operate in a multi-warfare, multi-platform coalition environment with a variety of other nations," said Capt. John Kersh, commander, Destroyer Squadron 24. "This is a pretty rare opportunity; the Royal Navy puts together this very high-end training, and we are using this exercise as an opportunity to build relationships with other navies. The strength of our Navy is the ability to operate with a variety of other navies and platforms all at the same time."
Sailors on board Cole will be able to operate alongside NATO partners to improve interoperability, as well as enjoy liberty in Scotland, Finland and Estonia.
"I want the crew to enjoy some relaxation; most people join the Navy to go see places and this is a great opportunity," said Cole's Command Master Chief (SW) Steve Timmons. "Also, this is phenomenal training and nothing beats working with NATO countries. They bring so much to the table."
The exercise will take place off the coast of Scotland with a coastline Sailors don't typically see operating off of the East Coast of the United States.
"We will be conducting this exercise in a historic Royal Navy training area," Kersh said. "It is sparsely populated, hilly, rocky, and with deep water so the ships can operate safely."
Joint Warrior serves as a deployment certification for U.S. ships, as well as offers Sailors the opportunity to execute maritime strategy with allied partners. The training scenarios will be realistic and challenging in order to enhance U.S. capabilities for maritime security.
"Hats off to the three ships for getting underway for Joint Warrior," said Kersh. "The crews have really worked hard to get their ships ready; they have worked through all the materiel issues, training requirements, and certifications. Joint Warrior will be a valuable exercise and a positive experience for our crews."
For more news from Destroyer Squadron 24, visit www.navy.mil/local/cds24.