By Ensign Andrew Long, USS Halsey Public Affairs
May 9, 2010 - USS HALSEY, At Sea (NNS) -- Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) demonstrated tactical prowess and combat readiness through live gunnery fire events and casualty drills May 7 during Destroyer Squadron 9's group sail prior to joining USS Abraham Lincoln and Carrier Air Wing 2 for strike group training.
Four ships from Destroyer Squadron 9 conducted synchronized gunnery fire on a single target. The ships effectively shared targeting data to engage a common target.
"This demonstrated our seamless ability to coordinate with ships in company to perform defensive measures against realistic threats," said Cmdr. Jordy Harrison of Columbia, Md., Halsey commanding officer.
The destroyer squadron staff also initiated two unannounced quick response drills. The first was a loss of steering drill, where crew members manually assumed control of the ship's steering equipment and maneuvered the ship from an engineering space. The crew reacted quickly, reaching their station in less than two minutes.
"We are always ready to respond to any casualty," said Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Rosanny Peralta of New York, who steered the ship from the alternate steering space. "It shows how well the crew is trained and our high level of readiness for deployment." Watchstanders reacted to another quick response drill on the bridge to engage a threat with small caliber weapons. Quartermaster 3rd Class Courtney D. Wortham of Bradenton, Fla. loaded the machine gun on the bridge wing without hesitation and fired immediately when ordered. "I was ready to fire within seconds of receiving the threat," said Wortham. "It shows we are always prepared to defend the ship."
"I prefer the quick response events because it introduces spontaneity and represents reality," said Lt. Cmdr. Michael L. Weeldreyer, Halsey's executive officer.
The final exercise of the day was a simulated launch of a Tomahawk missile which allows Halsey to engage land targets hundreds of miles from her location.
"We proved we are well trained and ready for deployment," said Ensign David A. Youker of Randolph, N.J., strike officer. "We can be counted on to put missiles on target should the need arise."
"This group sail is incredibly important for us to shift into a deployment-focused mindset and demonstrate our ability to act with disciplined aggression against any threat to the United States," said Harrison.
Halsey is homeported in San Diego and is scheduled to operate with the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group later this year.