By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katrina Parker, Destroyer Squadron 24 Public Affairs
ABOARD USS COLE, At Sea (NNS) -- Ships led by Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 24 arrived off the coast of Scotland Oct. 5 to participate in the multinational exercise Joint Warrior 2009.
The guided missile frigate USS John L. Hall (FFG 32), and guided missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG 61) and USS Cole (DDG 67), are participating in the NATO exercise, which is run by the Royal Navy's Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS). The U.S. ships are working alongside navies from the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Denmark and Turkey.
Joint Warrior is a United Kingdom led, multinational and multiwarfare exercise designed to improve interoperability between allied navies, and prepares participating crews to conduct combined operations during deployment.
The exercise promotes Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet's three focus areas: conducting safe and effective fleet operations to achieve mission, providing ready maritime forces for global assignment and teaming with allies and partners in execution of the maritime strategy.
"This is a rare opportunity," said DESRON 24 Commodore Capt. John Kersh. "We are all using this exercise as an opportunity to build relationships with other navies. The strength of our Navy is the ability to operate with a variety of other navies and platforms at the same time."
Joint Warrior is a unique opportunity for U.S. and British ships to work together with allied partners while providing each other with key services and logistical support. The Royal Navy's Commander Carrier Strike Group Commodore Simon Ancona said that he feels confident this exercise will encourage original thought and integration, which will help Sailors react to unscripted real world events in the future. He also said working alongside U.S. forces has tremendous advantages.
"Train as you mean to fight." Ancona said. "I think it is long acknowledged that in the sort of scenarios we are looking at, it is almost a certainty that we will be fighting alongside the United States. In terms of what it brings to this training, American units alongside not only bring a certain bulk that fleshes out the exercise for us, but also, we fully expect to be working alongside the U.S. wherever we will be, and therefore it makes perfect sense to train with them."
The participating ships have been divided into units that represent fictional regions that are having territory disputes. Scenarios include small boat attacks, boarding operations, air defense, anti-submarine warfare, and ship maneuverability tasks. Between 20 and 30 naval participants, including aviation, surface, and subsurface units, are participating.
Brazil's Defensora Commanding Officer Cmdr. Antonio Capistrano De Freitas Filho said this is a very unique experience for the ship and he and his crew are looking forward to getting the most training they can out of this exercise.
"It is amazing for us from Defonsora to be chosen to participate in this operation," Filho said. "It is unique for us to operate in Europe with different navies and we are looking forward to learning and training to bring back to our country. For the first time, we are operating alongside a Danish Navy ship and a Turkish Navy ship. It is quite new for us, we are looking forward to learning a lot and showing that we are professionals and that we have something to offer to our friend navies."
USS Cole's Commanding Officer Cmdr. Edward Devinney said Joint Warrior provides a realistic and complex training environment that not only tests the crews, but is a great way for friendly navies to connect and learn from each other.
"Joint Warrior is an important exercise because it promotes the 1,000 ship Navy," Devinney said. "With our different nations operating together, it is a great benefit to the U.S. and to them. We can all learn from each other and learn how to integrate together. This is easier said than done, and this war game will really help everyone prepare for possible future situations."
Joint Warrior serves as a certifying event for ships that will deploy with coalition forces in the future.
Hall, Ramage, and Cole, are working alongside the Royal Navy's HMS Illustrious (R 06), Northumberland (F 238), Portland (F 79), Bangor (M 109), Penzance (M 106), and Shoreham (M 112); the Canadian ships HMCS Halifax (FFH 330), Montreal (FFH 336), Athabaskan (DDH 282), and Preserver (AOR 510); the Royal Danish Navy's HDMS Absalon (L 16); the Brazilian Navy's BNS Defensora (F 41); and the Turkish Navy's TCG Orucreis (F 245).
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