MEDITERRANEAN SEA (NNS) -- Three Soldiers from the 10th Army and Air Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) embarked the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), Jan. 12, in order to integrate with the ship's ballistic missile defense (BMD) team.
10th AAMDC helps to strengthen ties while building partnership capacity for U.S. Army Europe, U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and NATO, integrating with joint and multinational partners in all aspects of air and missile defense.
While embarked, the Soldiers got a firsthand look at the air missile defense capabilities and processes on a U.S. Navy destroyer.
"It was really helpful to see how the Navy operates in a BMD environment," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Ashley Phillips. "I think I speak for all of us here when I say we learned some valuable information we will be taking back to the team in Germany."
Observing how the air missile defense mission is carried out within different branches is crucial to EUCOM integration, said Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Cleveland Butler.
"During their stay, Donald Cook provided onsite technical demonstrations and discussions to tactical scenarios in which they acted as ballistic missile defense watch officers during a BMD exercise to experience the operational side of the mission," said Cmdr. Matthew J. Powell, commanding officer of Donald Cook. "Their integration and addition to the Donald Cook team has increased understanding and joint capability throughout the EUCOM area of operations."
From his perspective, Army Staff Sgt. Spencer Nichols said being shore-side only gave him a small view of the BMD picture. Following his time on the ship, he could better understand the BMD process from platform to shore.
Along with their mission, the Soldiers got a chance to see how the Navy operates on a daily basis. All three Soldiers agreed that the Navy's customs and courtesies differ drastically from the Army.
"I loved the experience," said Nichols. "It's unique for us to be able to get a glimpse into the life of a Sailor."
This is Donald Cook's eighth forward-deployed naval forces patrol since becoming forward deployed at Naval Station Rota, Spain, in February 2014.
While on patrol, Donald Cook is scheduled to conduct naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element Det. Europe, visit www.navy.mil/local/NPASEDE/.