EVERETT, Wash. (NNS) -- Five Commander, Destroyer Squadron (COMDESRON) 9 ships conducted an emergency sortie exercise to get underway from Naval Station (NAVSTA) Everett, May 4.
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Shoup (DDG 86), USS Sterett (DDG 104) and USS Halsey (DDG 97) and the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates USS Ford (FFG 54) and USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) performed the sortie.
The evolution was coordinated by COMDESRON 9 and NAVSTA Everett Port Operations to meet commander, 3rd Fleet's emergency sortie requirements and to test the ships' capabilities to conduct quick tasking, as well as train port operations to get quickly and efficiently underway according to Lt. Tim Satrom, COMDESRON 9 public affairs officer.
"I think we've fostered a good working relationship (with COMDESRON 9). We take a lot of pride in how we conduct our business and the work that we do. The key to success is coordination; if we don't meet and coordinate and plan ahead of time, it won't work," said Stewart Schrock, NAVSTA Everett port operations installation program manager.
The event marked the start of a multi-ship training regimen involving six of seven COMDESRON 9 ships in preparation for upcoming deployments in support of operations with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) strike group.
The ships will join USS Momsen (DDG 92), already underway, to conduct certification exercises before meeting with Carrier Strike Group 9 in San Diego. USS Sterett and USS Halsey transited up to NAVSTA Everett from their homeport of NAVSTA San Diego to participate in the training.
"It's almost unprecedented for all six ships to operate together at sea. (USS) Ford will break off after a day of steaming with us and do training, but the remaining five ships will steam in company together to San Diego," said Lt. Cmdr. Mark Rice, COMDESRON 9 operations officer. "We'll be practicing our basic skill sets as surface warriors as we drive as a group down to San Diego to meet with the rest of the strike group."
"It's important because it allows us, as commanding officers, to work together confidently, getting familiar with operating close to each other so that, when we are on deployment, if any situation occurs, that familiarity is always there and there's no ambiguity.," said Cmdr. Joe Nadeau, USS Shoup commanding officer. "A lot of times on deployment you don't have time to wonder what you're going to do next; we have to have it already planned and ready to go, and this underway will allow us to refine those plans."
"The more time we have together the better we're going to be. Knowing how each ship operates really helps so when we meet up with the rest of the strike group we'll have a better understanding of each other while we perform our exercises," said Lt. Brent Jackson, USS Sterett operations officer.
According to Rice, the group sail objectives are to fulfill basic training requirements in multiple warfare areas, methodically increase operational tempo (optempo) in a multi-ship and helicopter maritime strike squadron (HSM) environment to improve tactical proficiency, build on the ability to shift to alternate warfare commanders and integrate multiple communications paths to increase operation proficiency.
"Our goal is to set the conditions for success as COMDESRON 9 assets transition to Abraham Lincoln Strike Group operations," said Rice. "This is the first opportunity for Abraham Lincoln Strike Group escorts to operate together with our assigned HSM 77 assets. The goal is to frame and refine the way we operate together as strike group elements and independent deployers with precision and style."
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