Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Halsey's Boarding Teams Prepare for Action

By Ensign Andrew Long, USS Halsey Public Affairs

USS HALSEY, At Sea (NNS) -- Visit, board, search and seizure teams from USS Halsey (DDG 97) completed numerous exercises July 28-30 to prepare for potential maritime security operations during their 2010 deployment schedule.

Nearly immediately following the guide-missile destroyer's departure for pre-deployment exercises July 23, boarding teams accelerated into action and began rigorous events designed to assess the effectiveness of the maritime interdiction mission area.

"The training in boarding suspect vessels at sea offered a degree of realism unavailable during earlier training phases," said Lt. Andrew Lingg, a lead boarding officer from Hillsborough, N.J. "The boarding team feels confident following this training."

The integrated, multiship maritime security exercises began immediately following Halsey's departure from San Diego Bay. The boarding teams leapt into action, preparing to deploy at any moment.

"This kind of readiness will be essential if we actually conduct this mission during our deployment," said Lingg. "We could be called on to board a suspect ship at any time with very little notice."

Boarding Officers Ensign David Youker of Randolph, N.J., and Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Andrew Krueger of Marientte, Wis., also led teams during boarding evolutions.

Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 2nd Class Reece Bell from 29 Palms, Calif., was the point man while one team boarded a vessel during a high freeboard event.

"He had to climb more than 50 feet up the ladder of a moving ship," said Lingg. "This is not an easy feat, and the most vulnerable point of a boarding, but Bell and the team performed excellently."

The boarding teams completed three boarding exercises during several days of high-alert readiness. During two intercept events, the teams boarded non-compliant vessels, which represented the highest degree of resistance Halsey's boarding teams will encounter.

"A vessel is non-compliant when it does not follow the directions of the boarding team, adding a level of complexity and uncertainty to the operation," said Lingg.

"Our boarding teams performed superbly," said Cmdr. Jordy Harrison, Halsey's commanding officer. "We may be called upon to conduct maritime security operations during our deployment, and I am confident our boarding teams will be able to successfully carry out any requirement. This is a critical tool we have to protect maritime commerce and contribute to the overall capabilities and effectiveness of the Abraham Lincoln Strike Group."

Halsey is homeported in San Diego and is currently operating with the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group in preparation for deployment.

The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group consists of flagship USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), embarked Carrier Air Wing 2, embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9 and the guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71).

Ships assigned to DESRON 9 include destroyers Halsey, USS Momsen (DDG 92), USS Shoup (DDG 86) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).

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