Wednesday, November 11, 2009

German Frigate Hessen Teams With Eisenhower for Training

The German navy frigate Hessen (F221) pulls alongside the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) for a refueling at sea. This is the first time Dwight D. Eisenhower has provided fuel for a German ship. Dwight D. Eisenhower is conducting a three-week Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) in preparation for its upcoming 2010 deployment. COMPTUEX is a training exercise along the East Coast from Virginia to Florida. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gina K. Wollman/Released)

By Mass Communication Specialist Logan Meyer, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, At Sea (NNS) -- The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) conducted the U.S Navy's first simulated replenishment-at-sea with a German warship during as part of a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) Nov. 3-24.

The Sachsen-class German frigate Hessen (F 221) participated in the simulation as part of a joint training exercise between the United States and German navies.

"The refueling simulation with the Hessen was a dry hook-up, so no fuel was transferred," said Ens. Heinz Moeller, an air defense officer in the operations department aboard the Hessen. "We participated in the training exercise because it was a good opportunity and also it was the first time a warship from the German Navy has done a refueling exercise with an American aircraft carrier."

Moeller stated that his role in the simulation was a supporting one, serving as a liaison between the two Navies and to help overcome any language barriers on the bridge-to-bridge radio channels.

"The procedure went so smoothly, there was really no need for me to serve as a translator," said Moeller. "The process was nearly perfectly run, and no language issues or otherwise arose during the training. We've had very good experiences with American ships within the standing NATO maritime groups, but not within a carrier strike group. It was an incredible and overwhelming experience."

Moeller also commented on his positive experience aboard Ike and the crew's impressive professionalism and support during his embark. "Everyone was very kind to me, and when I spoke with many of the crew members, they reflected the pride and legacy Ike carries," said Moeller. "It was my first time aboard an aircraft carrier, and I really felt like I was welcomed as a crew member on the Eisenhower."

Moeller stressed how few opportunities there are in the German Navy to perform a RAS with an American aircraft carrier, and that the crew of Hessen didn't want to pass up on an opportunity to gain a new experience. "The crew of the Hessen, and I suspect every Sailor in the U.S. Navy, has a drive to gain new experiences and do new things," said Moeller. "It was a perfect show of seamanship from the Eisenhower, and from the Hessen as well. I was happy to be a part of it."

Eisenhower is conducting a COMPTUEX in preparation for its upcoming 2010 deployment. COMPTUEX, scheduled by Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet and conducted by a training team led by Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic, is a joint/combined three-week exercise off the East Coast of the United States.