By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Cavagnaro, USS McCampbell Public Affairs
WATERS NEAR GUAM – Several ships assigned to the forward deployed naval forces (FDNF) in Japan completed Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15’s led annual training exercise, Multi-Sail, March 26, off the coast of Guam.
Multi-Sail is an annual exercise utilizing assets from the 7th Fleet area of responsibility to support security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Many units came together to participate in Multi-Sail 14 including Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Cowpens (CG 63) and USS Shiloh (CG 67), DESRON 15 Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS McCampbell (DDG 85), and USS Mustin (DDG 89), and underway replenishment ships USNS John Ericsson (T-AO 194) and USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9).
Capt. Paul Lyons, commander of DESRON 15, attributed the success of Multi-Sail 14 to the hard work and dedication shown by every Sailor during the five-day exercise.
“Multi-Sail presented a unique opportunity for FDNF Sailors to train like we would fight,” said Lyons. “Maximizing the return on investment was a critical facet of Multi-Sail. Executing in a multi-ship, multi-warfare environment is vital in testing not only a single ship’s ability to flex its primary mission area capability, but more broadly, in challenging the synergy and coordination amongst multiple ships. I’m elated with the performance of the group as a whole. The crews performed brilliantly.”
Multi-Sail 14 offered FDNF ships the chance to test their systems in the primary mission areas of surface, air, and anti-submarine warfare through various exercises including the firing of Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rockets (VLA), as well as testing of the ships’ Close In Weapons Systems (CIWS), Mk. 45 5-inch guns, and crew served weapons during live-fire exercises.
“[Multi-Sail 14] lets you see the fruits of your labor,” said Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Victoria Conroy, assigned to Lassen. “It’s not until you actually utilize the things that you upkeep and maintain that you get to see just how much all the crew’s hard work pays off.”
Anti-submarine warfare exercises allowed the ships’ to challenge their watchstanders’ ability to simulate engagement on contacts they might normally only track. Curtis Wilbur was one of many participating units that fired an over the side torpedo. In addition, participating helicopters from detachments of the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51 launched torpedoes from the air at synthetic targets.
“Torpedo exercises are critical in maintaining our anti-submarine warfare capability,” said Cmdr. Hans De For, commanding officer of Curtis Wilbur.
The significance of the opportunity to hone tactics, techniques, and procedures together as a Destroyer Squadron was not lost to any of the participating units.
“Multi-Sail served as an excellent opportunity for McCampbell and other participants to practice the operational employment of major weapon systems in realistic tactical scenarios that provide valuable experience for the watchstanders,” said Cmdr. Sharif Calfee, McCampbell’s commanding officer.
McCampbell served as the command pennant ship for the exercise with DESRON 15 staff embarked.
“It’s important as we rebalance as a nation and strategically pivot to the Pacific that we’re allowed to operate forward in an environment like this to test these vital systems that we’ll rely upon in a combat scenario,” said Lyons. “As we operate forward to protect our national interests and those of our regional allies and partners, events like these should assure our allies and partners that America’s commitment to forward-deploy 7th Fleet assets to promote peace, security, and prosperity is enduring and omnicapable.”