Wednesday, July 01, 2015

USS Lassen to Experience Philippine Culture

By Lt. j.g. Lauren Chatmas, USS Lassen Public Affairs

SUBIC BAY, Philippines (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) arrived in Subic Bay for a port visit, July 1.

"With all the natural beauty the Philippines has to offer, I am honored and excited to bring Lassen back to Subic Bay," said Cmdr. Robert Francis, Lassen's commanding officer. "For many of our Sailors, this is a real treat to be coming back to such a beautiful country. I could not ask for a more exciting and culture-rich port to visit."

Prior to arrival, Lassen's crew of 320 Sailors, including members of the 'Warlords' of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51, conducted presence patrols in the South China Sea and in waters around the Philippine Islands.

During the port visit, Lassen's crew will have the opportunity to interact with local citizens, experience Philippine culture, give back to the local community through several community relation projects and enjoy the natural splendor of the surrounding land and seascapes.

U.S. Navy port visits not only improve the quality of life for Sailors, but also play an important role in promoting peace and stability by strengthening relationships between the U.S. and the Philippines.

Lassen, one of seven destroyers assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, is currently on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

CSL Comalapa Holds Open House 2015

By Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Miguel A. Rivera, Cooperative Security Location, Comalapa, Public Affairs

COMALAPA, El Salvador (NNS) -- Cooperative Security Location (CSL) Comalapa held its annual open house event near the San Salvador International Airport, June 26.

The guest list included more than 400 friends and family members of the Salvadoran Air Force and Navy, the international airport, the U.S. Embassy and CSL staff, and all civilian and military personnel involved in supporting the Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) counter illicit trafficking mission.

Distinguished visitors included guest speaker Madam Mari Carmen Aponte, U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador; Rear Adm. Jon G. Matheson, deputy commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (USNAVSO)/deputy commander, U.S. 4th Fleet; and El Salvador Air Force Col. Manuel Fabio Calderon, commander, 2nd Brigade.

Several Sailors from the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) also attended the event. Comfort visited El Salvador as part of their humanitarian efforts in support of Continuing Promise 2015, a collaboration effort between partner nations in Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Guests were treated to Salvadorian pupusas and an American-style hot dog cookout with all the fixings, while the Salvadoran Air Force Band performed service music and mixed in some surprise tunes.

The open house was a tremendous success, reinforcing relationships between the CSL staff and host nation partners, educating the local public, and generating appreciation. The event culminated with the serving of Salvadorian snow cones, a welcomed refreshment during a very hot day.

CSL Comalapa provides critical logistics, infrastructure, and operational support to forward deployed U.S. and partner nation aviation assets participating in JIATF-S assigned counter-narcotic/illicit trafficking operations, USNAVSO/ U.S. 4th Fleet-directed humanitarian missions, and search-and-rescue efforts.

TR Carrier Strike Group Completes FLEETEX

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Josh Petrosino, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs

ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- Adm. Chester W. Nimitz once said, "There is no substitute for experience. However, when experience is not readily available, there is no substitute for training."

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)) conducted various fleet exercises (FLEETEX), June 12-22, to build interoperability with the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) ships and to exercise proficiency in command and control.

"Fleet exercises are integrated joint and coalition training events to maintain proficiency across maritime warfare disciplines," said Lt. Cmdr. Joshua Vergow, a battle watch captain watch-stander in Tactical Flag Command Center.

"It's pretty much an exercise or event that we do as a strike group," said Cryptologic Technician Technical 2nd Class Alexander Cady. "We work with our small boys to achieve some sort of training, such as deceiving the enemy, combat drills, and how we would react in a certain situation."

Involving several ships, FLEETEX is a complex evolution that requires a proactive frame of mind.

Participating ships included TR, the guided-missile destoyers USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS McFaul (DDG 74), and USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duncan (D37).

"Because we are a strike group, it is important for us [Theodore Roosevelt] to know how to work with our [destroyers and cruiser] effectively in any given situation," said Cady. "If we get into a combat scenario we need to be prepared, and the only way we are going to be prepared is to train. Fleet exercises help us train, not only as individual ships, but as a strike group."

During FLEETEX, TRCSG conducted air defense exercises, electronic warfare exercises, emissions control exercises, and divisional tactics. These exercises involved close integration from Sailors on all ships performing their jobs in harmony.

"The fleet exercise DIVTACS [divisional tactics] provided junior officers an excellent chance to hone their ship handling skills in a multi-ship environment," said Farragut's Lt. j.g. Joshua Bowling. "The maneuvers were carefully planned and executed at distances between 500-1000 yards. Most junior officers are introduced to DIVTACS in the simulator, and being able to execute these skills in the 5th Fleet area of operations proved to be an extremely valuable training opportunity."

The intricate exercises conducted during FLEETEX required extensive focus and dedication to ensure training was effective and met all objectives.

"Fleet exercises require a high level of planning and pre-coordination to execute events safely and effectively," said Vergow. "The exercises were successful and there were a lot of lessons learned."

Theodore Roosevelt is the flagship of the TRCSG, which is composed of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 1, Destroyer Squadron 2 staff, guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Farragut (DDG 99) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).

Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.