Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Joint Warrior 09-2 Wraps Up

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katrina Parker, Destroyer Squadron 24 Public Affairs

USS COLE, At Sea (NNS) -- Ships led by Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 24 along with a host of allied navies, wrapped up the multinational, multiwarfare Exercise Joint Warrior 09-2 Oct. 16.

The guided-missile frigate USS John L. Hall (FFG 32) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Cole (DDG 67) and USS Ramage (DDG 61) participated in the exercise.

Joint Warrior is designed and led by the United Kingdom's Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff and is a multiwarfare exercise designed to improve interoperability between allied navies and prepare participating crews to conduct combined operations during deployments.

The exercise incorporates both conventional warfare exercises and fleet irregular warfare training (FIWT). FIWT is a valuable means for Sailors to address and overcome emerging threats.

"This is a high speed exercise," said DESRON 24's Commodore John Kersh. "What makes it challenging is that it is around-the-clock and includes many events running simultaneously all in the very confined waters of the Scottish littorals."

This littoral training environment can't be found near most of the U.S. Navy operating areas on the East Coast and provides tactical challenges for ships that can not be replicated in the United States.

"I think one of the best things about Joint Warrior is that it is conducted in a geographically constrained environment," said Cole's Commanding Officer Cmdr. Edward Devinney. "We have to work our tactics around some complex geography, which really made the situation a lot more challenging."

Ramage's Commanding Officer Cmdr. Pete Galluch said Joint Warrior was a high operational tempo and tactically challenging exercise.

"The exercise presents a realistic scenario in a difficult littoral environment with significant 'real life' shipping that, while not part of the exercise, must be deconflicted," said Galluch. "It was one of the most intense and realistic trainings I have experienced."

The exercise focused heavily on a broad spectrum of non-traditional warfare areas such as counterpiracy and maritime security operations, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and air defense. These events ran concurrently with traditional training evolutions.
The comprehensive training focused on preparing the allies for combined operations in future global assignments. Participating navies included Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

"Joint Warrior puts a ship's commanding officer through every conceivable iteration of operations that he or she may encounter overseas, in particular, their ability to operate with other navies," Kersh said. "One of the key points of the Maritime Strategy is that you cannot surge trust. All of the friends we make over here by working with different navies are friendships that we can draw upon once we get to the areas of responsibility for 5th Fleet, 6th Fleet and 7th Fleet."

"Joint Warrior focused on multiship operations in a multinational environment," said John L. Hall's Commanding Officer Cmdr. Derek Lavan. "We operated exclusively using NATO messages, publications and guidance, which is not often done during U.S. Navy-only training."

Lavan said the exercise helped his ship become more accustomed to working alongside allied warships and aircraft.

"This training was excellent familiarization for our deployment, which will be predominantly in the area of responsibility for Commander, United States European Command, where we will have numerous opportunities to interact with our NATO allies," Lavan said.

Devinney said he was very pleased with how his crew performed during the exercise.

"I think Joint Warrior is the best training for any ship about to go on deployment," Devinney said. "It was a great opportunity to bring all of our skills to the test. A lot of the events we went through were above and beyond anything we are normally taught in a training cycle. This was a high level event that our crew excelled at in each warfare area."

Joint Warrior ran from Oct. 3-16 and served as a certifying event for ships that will deploy with coalition forces in the future.

John L. Hall, Ramage and Cole worked 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 Forces's ships HMCS Halifax (FFH 330), Montreal (FFH 336), Athabaskan (DDH 282) and Preserver (AOR 510); the Royal Danish Navy's HDMS Abaslon (L 16); the Brazilian Navy's BNS Defensora (F 41); and the Turkish Navy's TCG Orucreis (F 245).