Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Porter Participates in Low, Slow Flyer Exercise

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tyler J. Wilson, Commander Destroyer Squadron 24 Public Affairs

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Crew members aboard USS Porter (DDG 78) participated in a low, slow flyer exercise March 12, during a Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 24 Group Sail in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Group Sail's primary function is to augment the strike group's abilities to execute U.S. Navy maritime strategy. It is a precursor to the upcoming joint warrior exercise that will encompass thorough training in less traditional areas, like counter-piracy and theater security.

"This exercise gives us a chance to check our procedures when it comes to battling nontraditional threats," said Chief Fire Controlman (SW) Chris Hutter. "It also gives the new guys on board the ability to learn how we handle the low, slow flyer incidents."

On the weather decks, Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Jordan Simmons, a member of the ship's Small Caliber Attack Team (SCAT), prepared the .50-caliber guns to simulate attacking the slow, low flyer, in case the 5-inch gun failed or missed.

"When it comes to the .50-caliber guns we're the ship's last line of defense," said Simmons. "The SCAT has only minutes to suit up with a phone-talker and a gunner at each station and prepare to engage the aircraft if necessary."

Before the SCAT was even called, Simmons ensured that the ship's weapons were clean, loaded, and ready for anything.

"It's my job to make sure the weapons are ready for action at any time," said Simmons. "Whether we're dealing with low, slow fliers, helicopters, or small boats, we need our close-quarters weapons to be ready to fight."

During the exercise, the 5-inch gun, mounted on the bow of the ship, succeeded in hitting the target. Crew members participating in the evolution received praise for their precision and proper execution.

"The training was very positive to all involved," said Hutter. "As we prepare to deploy in an area where non-traditional threats exist, we'll rely on our training."