By Ensign Christopher Dawson, USS Shiloh (CG 67) Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan (Feb. 12, 2016) – Sailors assigned to the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) participated in a “fast cruise” exercise Feb. 12, held at Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka.
A “fast cruise” is a simulation of an underway period, including multiple drills and evolutions all conducted without the ship leaving the pier.
The simulation is designed to prepare the ship and her crew to go back to sea after having been in dry dock for seven months. A sea and anchor exercise, an evolution designed to reflect the ship getting underway from the pier, begins the “fast cruise” process.
“The sea and anchor was pretty hectic, as there were a lot of new watch standers and because it has been so long since we have gone through those motions,” said Ensign Kelly Maw, the conning officer for the first sea and anchor evolution. “After a while, everyone settled back into a rhythm and the drills started to run much more smoothly. We had a lot of lessons learned, which will make our actual underway work that much more seamlessly.”
Sailors also participated in a number of drills to include; loss of steering, low visibility, man overboard, engineering drills, small boat operations, Condition II ASW, and General Quarters.
The day ended with an abandon ship drill in which the entire crew mustered at specified locations on the ship for each of their lifeboats.
“I felt that doing the abandon ship drill was helpful because before the drill, no one knew where they were supposed to go or what they were supposed to do if we had to abandon ship,” said Seaman Anna Rhodes.
During the abandon ship drill, the crew headed to the Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) building on base where a dynamic display of a lifeboat was set up. 25 volunteers from the crew crammed inside the lifeboat to see what it would be like when the lifeboat was manned to capacity. SRF-JRMC workers had samples of the dry provisions inside the lifeboat that the crew could try.
Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 2nd Class Dylan Philpot said that he hadn’t realized the lifeboats were provided with food for the people on them and that it tasted better than he expected.
The crew worked through some minor challenges throughout the day and finished the simulation with a refresher of what being underway is like.
Since Shiloh’s last underway there has been a significant amount of turnover for the crew. The “fast cruise” simulation is designed to show the new crew the pace of underway operations to come.