By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Karolina A. Oseguera
PLYMOUTH, England (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) departed Plymouth, England, April 6, 2015, to continue Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) at sea.
FOST is based out of naval bases in the United Kingdom (UK), and it delivers operational training across all disciplines for the Royal Navy and other navies that wish to make use of its services.
"I saw huge improvements throughout the past two weeks. We rowed hard and we got a lot of work done. We had major improvements in all areas but we still have much to work on," said Cmdr. Charles Hampton, USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) commanding officer. "However, I am very pleased and very proud of everyone onboard. It was an all-hands effort."
During the first two weeks of FOST, Donald Cook Sailors were placed through multiple training team environments to include combat scenarios, flight operations, seamanship training team scenarios, gunnery exercises, damage control training, engineering training and a weekly war environment.
In the weekly war environment, the ship was placed in a seven hour simulated general quarters environment following a storyline of shipboard attacks from enemy forces. Sailors had to react while being assessed by the United Kingdom Royal Navy FOST and the U.S. Navy's Afloat Training Group (ATG) experts.
FOST will now resume the certification process in preparation for participation in Joint Warrior 15, a 54-nation international exercise in which Donald Cook will operate as part of a strike group.
FOST offers tailored training to meet the specific national requirements of many other navies, air forces and elements of land forces. The syllabus is framed around NATO doctrine and is aimed at delivering Royal Navy standards. It draws upon FOST's experience across an array of platforms to capture and promote best practice.
FOST's training prepares all types of surface warships, submarines and auxiliaries for peacetime, peace-support and war-fighting operations. Starting with basic alongside preparatory safety and readiness training, units progress through single threat and multi-threat scenarios to advanced tactical training at task group level.
Donald Cook's port call in Plymouth allowed Sailors to relax and recover while experiencing the local attractions such as a soccer game and a morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) guided tour to Stonehenge.
Donald Cook, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations with allies and partners in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in order to advance security and stability in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.