Tuesday, April 13, 2010

DESRON 24, U.S. Ships Arrive off the Coast of Scotland for Joint Warrior

By Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Nikki Smith, Destroyer Squadron 24 Public Affairs

FASLANE, Scotland (NNS) -- U.S. Navy ships led by Commander, Destroyer Squadron 24 (DESRON 24) arrived in Faslane, Scotland, April 9 to participate in Joint Warrior 10-1, a multinational semi-annual exercise held off the coast of Scotland.

The guided missile destroyers USS Laboon (DDG 58) and USS Barry (DDG 52), the guided missile cruisers USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USS Vicksburg (CG 69), the guided missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59), and the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195) will participate in the exercise's coalition course, which is run by the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS) in the United Kingdom.

Capt. Aaron C. Jacobs, commodore of DESRON 24, and his staff are embarked aboard Laboon for the exercise to fully integrate into a joint maritime operating environment.

Jacobs said this exercise will challenge ships with Fleet Irregular Warfare Training (FIWRT), stress individual platforms with disaggregate operations, and hone the Navy's skills working with allies.

"These are skill sets we often don't have the opportunity to practice, and Joint Warrior is a great venue," Jacobs said. "The work for this exercise has been in process for months, and we are finally here to execute one of the most important exercises for independent deployment certifications."

Joint Warrior serves as an independent deployment certification event for Laboon, Vella Gulf and Kauffman.

DESRON 24 Operations Officer Lt. Cmdr. Greta Densham said that a benefit of the exercise is the chance to work with allies.

"It's a unique opportunity for the ships to prepare for operations with coalition partners and practice NATO tactics, techniques, and procedures that they otherwise wouldn't see in a U.S. exercise," Densham said.

This semi-annual 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.

The two-week long exercise, Joint Warrior 10-1, is scheduled to begin April 12 off the coast of Scotland, where the participating navies will practice joint maritime operations in a controlled environment. Nations participating in the exercise are Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States.