YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- With Summer Pulse 2004 in motion, the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) continued to maintain security with a force protection exercise from June 28-July 1.
The force protection exercise was designed to evaluate and train the Kitty Hawk CSG's ability to go through various force protection conditions. The exercise tested the ability to go through all levels of force protection conditions, and activate its response to various terrorist threats.
"Force protection is definitely a perishable skill," said Lt. Keith Dowling, the strike group's force protection officer.
"With various unstable conditions in the world, with terrorism, all crew members of every ship need to be familiar with force protection," said Master-at-Arms 1st Class (SW) Russell Chaffin, Kitty Hawk's security department leading petty officer. "Knowing force protection will help Sailors combat terrorism around the world."
Along with Kitty Hawk, USS Vincennes (CG 49), USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) and USS Gary (FFG 51) all took part in the exercises.
To ensure the Kitty Hawk CSG's force protection skills were fresh, the exercise simulated threats, such as ship surveillance, pier and ship penetration, bomb threats, improvised explosive devices and small boat attacks.
"We had various drills designed to progressively adjust the force protection condition," said Dowling. "We made sure we had the manning and the equipment necessary to implement all the measures for each force protection condition."
Force protection officers, force protection training teams and security teams from the different ships participated in the exercise.
"On Kitty Hawk, that's (security) comprises both the security department and all the watchstanders for the different watch rotations. On the small boys, it consists of ship's personnel who are standing force protection watches," said Dowling.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5, Det. Japan, was responsible for providing simulated improvised explosive devices (IEDs), as well as training ship's personnel on search techniques for bomb threats, identifying mail bombs and the initial actions to be taken in an IED incident.
Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) security personnel helped run the logistics of the exercise, which spanned several commands. CFAY security also acted as the host nation's security during the simulated events.
To evaluate and provide feedback on the exercise, Ship's Training Anti-Terrorism Team San Diego teamed up with the Yokosuka branch of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
"I think Kitty Hawk did extremely well, with just coming off of an underway period and training the crew to take over force protection watches on the pier," said Chaffin. "The training was well received, giving us a high score from the inspection chief from San Diego."
With the exercise over, the Kitty Hawk CSG will now use the lessons they learned from the exercise to improve on force protection readiness during the current Summer Pulse '04 global readiness demonstration.
"Lessons learned included a need to review and practice our preplanned responses on a routine basis," said Dowling.
Summer Pulse 2004 is the simultaneous deployment of seven aircraft strike groups, demonstrating the ability of the Navy to provide credible combat power across the globe, in five theaters with other U.S., allied and coalition military forces. Summer Pulse is the Navy's first deployment under its new Fleet Response Plan.
For more information about Summer Pulse '04, visit the CFFC Web site at www.cffc.navy.mil/summerpulse04.htm or visit the Summer Pulse '04 Navy NewsStand site at www.news.navy.mil/local/pulse04.
For related news, visit the USS Kitty Hawk Strike Group Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cv63.