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USS Roosevelt, Leading the Way on Warfare Development

14 December 2022

From Lt. j.g. James Olsen

MEDITERRANEAN SEA – Four officers trained as warfare tactics instructors (WTIs) currently serve aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), demonstrating their continued commitment to elite tactical excellence and training aboard.

Roosevelt, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is currently on its fourth Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) patrol. FDNF-E ships are primarily independent deployers and have real-world opportunities to establish and test new techniques and tactics.

The WTI program is designed to develop tactical experts, leaders, and teachers in one of four subject areas – anti-submarine/surface warfare (ASW/SUW), integrated air and missile defense (IAMD), mine warfare (MIW), and amphibious warfare (AMW). Surface warfare officers are hand selected for this highly rigorous program to become experts in their respective warfare area and bring that knowledge back to the fleet.

Roosevelt has an unprecedented four WTIs aboard – Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Wagner, an IAMD WTI, Lt. Evan Oltmanns, an ASW/SUW WTI, Lt. j.g. Dylan Cabrera, an IAMD WTI, and Lt.j.g. James Olsen, an ASW/SUW WTI. This number comprises over half of all FDNF-E WTIs and is noteworthy as most destroyers have only a single WTI-qualified officer. From 2nd tour division officers to department heads, the WTIs lead and guide the development of warfighting aboard Roosevelt.

Roosevelt’s Commanding Officer Cmdr. John Mastriani said, “Building our team and retaining top talent is what enables us to continue effective operations over the horizon. I’m extremely proud of the efforts that we make to keep our best people and provide them every opportunity to excel – whether it’s keeping our expert technicians aboard with the Overseas Tour Extension Incentive Program (OTEIP), or ensuring continuity with our division officer and department head ‘WTI-Fleet Up’ approach.”

“WTI mentorship and instruction was critical to my qualification as a Surface Warfare Officer on Roosevelt,” said Lt. j.g. Matthew Teitelman, Roosevelt’s damage control assistant. “That leadership provided a perspective on modern day warfare that I’m not sure I would have gotten had I not had the WTIs there. I’m excited to be attending the Integrated Air Missile Defense WTI course of instruction following my first tour to be able to provide that same guidance to the future generation onboard Roosevelt.”

Teitelman was recently accepted to the IAMD WTI program, where he will be joined by Lt. j.g. Andrew Bacso, another first tour division officer fleeting up to continue his second tour aboard Roosevelt.

“We’ve created a culture aboard USS Roosevelt in which junior officers are expected to participate in warfare development. Our last three fire control officers and anti-submarine warfare officers are WTIs, and we will continue the trend with our two new WTI candidates,” said Lt. j.g. Dylan Cabrera, the fire control officer aboard Roosevelt. “The experience we already get as forward-deployers in the Sixth Fleet area of operations is unmatched, but adding the WTI element elevates our warfighting ability even further.”

Roosevelt, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, began its fourth Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) patrol Sept. 27. Four U.S. Navy destroyers, including Roosevelt, are based in Rota, Spain and are assigned to Commander, Task Force 65 in support of NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture. These FDNF-E ships have the flexibility to operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle, demonstrating their mastery of the maritime domain.

For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.


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