Saturday, December 04, 2010

Riverine Sailors Participate in Strike Group Exercise

By MC2(SW) Michael R. Hinchcliffe, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Riverine Group 1 and Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 2 participated in Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG) Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) Dec 2.

COMPTUEX is a scenario-driven tactical exercise, designed to train embarked staffs, ships, and the air wing of the CSG to function as one highly effective fighting force.

COMPTUEX is designed to train and assess the Strike Group in the conduct of end to end execution of strike, expeditionary, and other naval missions in joint, coalition, and interagency environments. The exercise consists of two distinct phases and is evaluated by Commander, Strike Force Training, and U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

During the exercise a Riverine Command Boat (RCB) simulated an attack from small boat opposition forces on ships of the Enterprise Strike Group, which included USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Mason (DDG 87) and USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), three miles off shore in Cape Henry.

"These types of exercises help the Riverine community train in open seas," said Lt. j.g. Alexander Lawton, an officer with RIVRON 2. "We get an opportunity to exercise our crews and equipment in ways we have not been doing in the past."

The RIVRON mission during the COMPTUEX was to assist in the preparation of the Strike Group ability to counter fast attack craft and fast inshore attack craft threats.

"Supporting ESG's training shows the integration possible between NECC and other U.S. Naval forces," said Cmdr. Clay Wilson, commanding officer of RIVRON 2. "In a true wartime environment, each community brings a specific capability to bear and each is critical to the success of the Navy as a whole."

Acting as the opposition force during the exercise allowed the Riverine Sailors to test the capabilities and handling of the RCBs in rough seas. The Riverine Sailors, dressed in civilian attire manned gun mounts giving the ESG ships and Sailors a real life scenario feel during the exercise.

According to Wilson the RCB had no issues during the event and performed above expectations. Recent modifications have improved the crafts ability to operate in higher sea states and as such have expanded the areas in which it can be safely operated.

Wilson said whether it is conducting recovery missions, providing river presence preventing insurgents from planning and executing an attack at sea, or as in this case assisting in force protection training, Riverine forces help a CSG be more effective.