DARWIN, Australia (NNS) -- Two of the three participating units of the U.S. 3rd Fleet Pacific Surface Action Group (PAC SAG) departed Darwin, Australia, July 20 after a routine port visit.
Prior to pulling into port, guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance (DDG 111) and USS Momsen (DDG 92), along with several Australian military assets recently conducted a bilateral training exercise consisting of communication and navigation drills throughout the Timor Sea. The intent of the exercise was to enhance military-to-military interoperability for future joint operations.
"Working with the U.S. Navy's Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 31 has been a great experience -- especially the opportunity to work with three Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyers before the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) Hobart-class Aegis destroyers are commissioned," said RAN Lt. Cmdr. Aaron Scott. "As the RAN focuses more on task group training and operations, any time we get to work with the U.S. Navy helps build experience and increase interoperability for the future."
While in port, Momsen and Spruance continued preparations for their ongoing operations to promote stability and maritime support in the region. The PAC SAG also consists of USS Decatur (DDG 73) and embarked "Devil Fish" and "Warbirds" detachments from the "Scorpions" of Helicopter Strike Squadron (HSM) 49, operating under CDS-31.
"Our visit to Darwin has a unique meaning to our SAG as one of our leaders is from the Royal Australian Navy on an exchange tour with us," said Capt. Charles Johnson, commander, CDS-31. "It is another example of us working closely with the Australian military in increasing our operational capability of securing the peace and prosperity here in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region."
The crews experienced the offerings of "the land down under" through trips offered by Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) and a beautification project at a local wildlife park.
"The community service event at the Territory Wildlife Park in Darwin was a fantastic opportunity," said Fire Controlman 1st Class Justin Proffitt. "It's always a rewarding feeling to give back by volunteering for these events, and being around the animals made it an experience that won't be forgotten."
The U.S. Navy maintains a presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to help preserve peace and security and to further partnerships with friends and allies. The presence of the PAC SAG on this deployment contributes to freedom of navigation and lawful use of the sea, as well as furthers operational training and enables an exchange of culture, skills and tactical knowledge.
Under the operational control of U.S. 3rd Fleet, the PAC SAG is conducting routine patrols, maritime security operations and theater cooperation activities to enhance regional security and stability. Decatur and Momsen have conducted multilateral exercises with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, Republic of Korea Navy, as well as U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps assets.
Spruance also began their portion of the deployment participating in the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI). OMSI is a Secretary of Defense program leveraging Department of Defense assets transiting the region to increase the Coast Guard's maritime domain awareness, ultimately supporting its maritime law enforcement operations in Oceania.
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. 3rd Fleet works constantly with U.S. 7th Fleet. The forces of both fleets complement one another across the spectrum of military operations in the Pacific.
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