Monday, March 09, 2009

Second Fleet Ships Conduct Irregular Warfare Training

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Second Fleet will conduct Fleet Irregular Warfare Training in the vicinity of the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) and in the Jacksonville Operating Areas March 9-16.

Ships participating in the training include the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) and the guided-missile cruisers USS Anzio (CG 68) and USS Philippine Sea (CG 58).

Fleet Irregular Warfare Training is intended to better prepare individual unit ship commanding officers and their crews to operate in a complex, uncertain operating environment similar to the real-world environments experienced by units involved in counterpiracy and other irregular warfare support missions.

"This initial Fleet Irregular Warfare Training event is an important step for 2nd Fleet toward improving the quality and realism of training as we provide ready maritime forces for global assignment," said Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet Vice Adm. Mel Williams Jr. "We will also continue to train and certify carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups/maritime expeditionary units for the high-end of military operations - major combat operations - but we will also ensure that individual units have the preparedness to operate alone in complex environments."

AUTEC, located in the vicinity of Andros Island, Bahamas, is a facility that supports the full spectrum of undersea warfare by providing accurate three-dimensional tracking, performance measurement and data collection resources for assessment of fleet training, tactical and material readiness.

Ships participating in the training will perform visit board and search procedures, anti-submarine warfare, counter-piracy, hostage scenarios and air defense exercises.

"With this training we're exposing ships to many different scenarios that they're likely to see in reality," said Capt. John Kersh, commander of Destroyer Squadron 24, which is the command element for the training exercise. "What makes this training unique is that we're doing multiple training scenarios all at once."

This training will test commanding officers and their Sailors in dealing with simultaneous irregular warfare settings ranging from counterpiracy to anti-submarine warfare.

"With piracy becoming a larger problem in the world today, it's necessary we are fully prepared to conduct counterpiracy operations wherever we are deployed," said Kersh.

"This is more difficult than just finding a base where pirates are located and destroying it, as pirates often pretend to be fishermen off the coast of Somalia; they're fisherman one minute and pirates the next, making it difficult to differentiate between the two. As a result, this presents us with a unique and difficult situation."

Another important aspect of this training is the communication between commanding officers and the various task forces with whom they will work for when deployed.

"By exposing these [commanding officers] to the stress that they'll see over there, they'll be more prepared and ready to execute when scenarios like the ones we're training for happen," said Kersh.