UNITED KINGDOM (NNS) -- U.S. Navy units and a host of allied forces have commenced a multiple platform, comprehensive maritime operations exercise in the coastal waters of the United Kingdom, slated to take place May 11-21.
The Joint Warrior (JW) exercise, a two-week evolution led by the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS) in the United Kingdom (UK), provides a robust training environment for partnering nations to prepare their maritime forces and improve interoperability for any combined operations in future global assignments. Participating countries include the United States, Germany, Great Britain, Turkey, the Netherlands, Greece, France, Italy and Denmark.
"One of the strengths of the U.S. Navy is our ability to forward-deploy worldwide and work well with our allies and partners," said Commander, Destroyer Squadron (COMDESRON) 24 Commodore Capt. John Kersh.
"The way you get really good at that is to work with them in a benign environment first and then draw upon those relationships once you get in theater. It brings us to a higher overall state of training readiness."
USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Porter (DDG 78), USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), USNS Kanawha (T-AO 193) and COMDESRON 24 represent the United States during the scenario-driven engagement. While in transit to the region, the ships conducted a series of underway replenishments (UNREP), counterpiracy scenarios, boarding exercises, gun shoots, and ship maneuvering drills, all in preparation for the fast-paced event.
"Our Sailors are going to get to see the world while working on building relationships with other navies," said Kersh. "They will begin to understand things like our allies' procedures, how they operate, their rules of engagement and the communications pathways they have established. It's going to be unbelievably good training, and it's all very, very positive."
Exercise JW also encompasses fleet irregular warfare training (FIWT), focusing heavily on more non-traditional warfare areas such as counterpiracy and theater security. The innovative FIWT is an invaluable tool for 21st century Sailors addressing and overcoming new, emergent threats.
"A number of Sailors will be heavily involved in visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) teams, force protection, and antiterrorism evolutions," said Kersh. "They will see firsthand how it all fits together, and that they have a very important role to play."
Arleigh Burke Commanding Officer Cmdr. Brian Moum said working with allies keeps the American military fluent in what other nations are doing, ensuring partnered nations can execute operations together, both correctly and efficiently.
"Joint Warrior is a completely new experience for me and a lot of other junior Sailors," said Hull Technician Fireman Apprentice Teela Vaudrin, a Sailor assigned to USS Arleigh Burke. "We don't know what's ahead of us on our [follow-on] deployment, so any practice we get to prepare us for future missions is going to be really valuable for us."
Both the JW exercise and FIWT evolutions are expected to increase fleet efficiency and battle readiness in accordance with the U.S. Navy's maritime strategy.
Following successful completion of JW, Arleigh Burke will depart for the remainder of its six-month deployment to African waters in support of maritime security operations at sea.
"We will be out conducting multiple warfare evolutions in real time, which is something we don't necessarily get while operating off of the East Coast," said Moum. "It's going to teach everybody, at all levels, to not just focus on one task but to keep a clear focus on the bigger picture at all times."
For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.