April 13, 2010
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nikki Smith, Destroyer Squadron 24 Public Affairs
USS LABOON, At Sea (NNS) -- The multinational exercise Joint Warrior 10-1 commenced April 12 off the coast of Scotland with high-tempo training exercises.
Joint Warrior is a United Kingdom-led, multiwarfare exercise designed to improve interoperability between allied navies and prepare participating crews to conduct combined operations during deployment.
The concentrated training schedule for the guided missile destroyer USS Laboon, one of the six U.S. Navy ships participating in Joint Warrior 10-1, included a mine leadthrough and a Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FIAC) exercise, which occurred immediately upon pulling out of port in Faslane, Scotland.
"All underway time is valuable. We want to maximize every training moment, and it puts everyone into the scenario," said Capt. Stephen Evans, deputy commodore of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 24. "We're in scenario from the very start, and we're operating under very realistic circumstances."
The first exercise of the day was a mine leadthrough, in which a minesweeping ship, HMS Brocklesby (M33), led Laboon through a simulated mine warfare track, which permitted Laboon to practice ship maneuvers and operate astern of the minesweeper. During the exercise, Brocklesby escorted Laboon through a mine track, which ensured Laboon had a clear, mine-free, path as it transited a potential dangerous area.
Ensign Michele Rollins, DESRON 24 staff navigator, said this minesweeping exercise is unique because it is not practiced the same way U.S. Navy ships would practice off the U.S. east coast. During U.S. Navy exercises, navigation would plot a path for ships to follow and simulate a minesweeper escort ship. In Joint Warrior, Laboon and other ships were able to actually follow a minesweeping ship, achieving a realistic experience for Sailors aboard the ship.
Meanwhile, the crew remained ready to execute the FIAC. The crew was not briefed on what time the attack would happen, but was told to be ready and waiting for the call to go out. When Laboon's crew was called to man stations for the attack, they found four jet skis inbound and executed proper procedures to neutralize threats.
As Sailors manned gun mounts and blew the ship's whistle, the at-sea fire party members manned fire hoses spray and deter the inbound jet skis. The exercise also challenged Laboon's navigation and bridge team, while personnel executed proper pre-planned responses, they continued to maintain the ships speed and maneuver the ship, in different ways, to keep the jet skis in the ships wake.
Master-at-Arms 1st Class (SW/AW) Joseph Lucy, Laboon's anti-terrorism force protections watch officer, said this exercise was beneficial great because attempts to gather information from approaching jet skis approaching ships is an increasing realistic scenario.
"This is our home; we have to protect each other. Everyone was reacting to the situation as if it were real, and we were working together in the mindset to protect each other and protect our home," said Lucy.
Ships led by DESRON 24, commanded by Capt. Aaron C. Jacobs, commodore, will be participating in the Joint Warrior training exercise until April 23, with different, realistic scenario-driven exercises planned everyday.
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.
Joint Warrior serves as a certifying event for ships that will deploy with coalition forces in the future. Laboon is participating alongside the guided missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52), guided missile cruisers USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USS Vicksburg (CG 69), guided missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59) and Fleet Replenishment Oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195).
Nations participating in the exercise are Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States.