As part of the training, a small vessel approached the area where Gettysburg was patrolling and acted as a suspected pirate vessel. Gettysburg queried the vessel according to exercise instructions. When the small vessel did not reply properly, the VBSS team prepared to board it.
The VBSS team officers reported to the Gettysburg bridge to get amplifying information about the vessel, and how it was behaving while the other members of the VBSS team dressed out for the boarding. The VBSS team then reported to the fantail to launch a rigid hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) to transport them to the suspected vessel.
"I look at it kind of like a football game, when we are in the locker room just prepping, thinking about the plays you are going to make, what the other team is going to do, how you are going to counter that to bring your team back home safe." said Lt. j.g. Christian Mack, a member of the VBSS team on board Gettysburg.
Once on board the small vessel, the VBSS team's job is to conduct a search and determine if it is operating within international law. If they find the vessel is a suspected pirate ship or participating in illegal operations, the team will move to take control of the ship. Team members are trained in engineering and bridge standing procedures so they can maneuver the vessel if needed.
VBSS teams participate in similar training at least once a quarter, either at sea or ashore.
"Being at sea, doing it underway is the best training," said VBSS team member Lt. j.g. Michael Burris.