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Around The Fleet

The Away Team


"This is the TAO, away the SNOOPIE team! Away!"

With a flash, Sailors rush toward the ladder wells in response to the blaring announcement on the 1MC. The sound of their boots clanking up the metal steps rises toward vultures row, and out of the hatch comes the Ship's Nautical or Otherwise Photographic Interpretation and Exploitation (SNOOPIE) team of the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3).

Alert and on watch, Intelligence Specialist 3rd Class Kaitlyn Smiddy, a SNOOPIE team leader, from Castle Rock, Colorado, and the rest of the team scan the horizon for surface, air and sub-surface craft.

"It's our job to collect information on any vessels that we pass and report it to our chain of command, and they relay that information to 5th fleet," said Smiddy. "That's where we get our intelligence updates and tasking from. Then, when we see a vessel of interest, Kearsarge personnel can get tasked to board that vessel and search it."
Photo collage of Sailors scanning for surface contacts, determining bearing and range of ship, taking photo.

As simple as it sounds, being on the SNOOPIE team is not always so.

It can be pretty intense because SNOOPIE team is constantly on watch. We can be called away anytime."
-IS3 Kaitlyn Smiddy

"When they say, 'Away the SNOOPIE team!' we go up and figure out what the vessel is and what it's capable of. It's our job to say, 'hey, this is the vessel's country of origin' and we specify what type of vessel, see if there's any weapons topside, or people," said Smiddy.

While the Kearsarge SNOOPIE team hasn't worked together very long, they're motivated to become the best in the waterfront.

"As far as SNOOPIE team goes overall, we're green, but we're really proficient and really good at what we do overall," said Smiddy. "We're the best in the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), if not the fleet, which we take a lot of pride in. Because we work our butts off to make sure we are producing immaculate products, and to make the best we can in all of our tasks."

"We make sure that we represent our ship very well to give us a good reputation," said Smiddy. "Even though we've only been doing SNOOPIE for a couple months we're motivated and excited to do it."

Her team sings high praises of their growing leader.

"She's really, really good at what she does," said Intelligence Specialist 3rd Class Devin Robertson, the assistant SNOOPIE team leader, from Lincoln, Nebraska. "She's done wonders with organizing who does what and picking out what they're good at. That really helps them to excel, and she's great at positive reinforcement. She really gives you the feeling of being a part of the team, and she's one of the few that you feel like you're encouraged to follow."
Photo collage of Sailor with binoculars, taking photo off the side of a ship, taking photo with long lens camera.

Smiddy does not take her job lightly but sees it as something much more important.

"SNOOPIE team is not a game and it is not something that's small," said Smiddy.

Collection of visual information is very important, not just in the ARG, but to the fleet and to the Navy."
-IS3 Kaitlyn Smiddy

"Even if it's the smallest piece of the puzzle it can give you a broader idea of what is going on in the world, or with certain countries and how they operate. So even though SNOOPIE team may be called every day, every single piece of it counts, whether it's training or the real thing, it is important," said Smiddy.

All Hands Graphic of 100 years of naval photography.