CORONADA, Calif. (NNS) -- USS Shoup (DDG 86) completed a Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) exercise while conducting operations off the coast of Southern California March 30.
A key component of the nation's Maritime Strategy, fire support includes the ability for the Navy's destroyers and cruisers to provide supporting fire from the sea to protect Marines operating on the shore. NSFS is often the Navy's key advantage in counter-piracy and drug interdiction operations.
Shoup Sailors received weapons training from the Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Pacific in February, after which the ship was scheduled for a range shoot to put their newly acquired skills to the test. The shoot was cancelled due to poor weather conditions.
Then, while underway conducting other operations, the ship received notice from the San Clemente Island range operators that there was an unexpected opening on the range that day. The ship was able to move quickly and take advantage of the opening and successfully completed several challenging scenarios.
"On two hours notice, we came to 25 knots and arrived to put ordnance on target, on time. It validated our ability to support troops ashore under real-world conditions," said Lt. Paul Willis, Shoup's weapons officer.
Effective NSFS requires a high degree of coordination. The pilothouse and Combat Information Center (CIC) must work together to position and prepare the ship to fire. CIC receives inputs from spotters on the ground, using the information to fire with precision.
"It's all about timing, so you need a good team," said Ensign Philip Ibbitson, the ship's ordnance officer. "Sailors with a wide spectrum of jobs, from gunner's mates to fire controlmen and operations specialists, must work together to quickly and accurately put rounds downrange."
Gunner's Mate 1st Class Jonathan Eddy was glad to be able to put his skills to use, "It's exciting to finally get to shoot," he said. "We can move on to our next task knowing we've successfully completed this one."
Shoup is homeported in Everett, Wash., as part of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.