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USS Carney Completes Exercise Joint Warrior 17-1
“General quarters! General quarters! All hands man your battle stations, set condition zebra throughout the ship.”
Sailors run to and fro in controlled chaos preparing for action. Within minutes USS Carney (DDG 64) is ready and general quarters (GQ) is set. All of the ship’s departments are coming together to make a lethal, well-oiled machine of war.
Carney is sailing through dangerous waters. They’ve attacked their enemy twice in as many days and the crew expects retaliation. The mood is tense while the Sailors wait vigilantly for the missiles or torpedoes that are sure to come at any moment.
None of this is real. Carney Sailors were responding to a scenario conducted during exercise Joint Warrior 17-1, a semi-annual, U.K.-led multinational exercise in which the ship participated. The exercise was designed and led by the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff in the U.K. and is intended to improve interoperability between NATO and partner navies. This interoperability is accomplished by giving participating units the opportunity to overcome difficult scenarios as part of a combined task force in a multi-threat, geo-politically unstable simulation.
Nations that participated in Joint Warrior 17-1 included Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“As a ship out of Rota, [Spain], we must always be ready to work with NATO partners,” said Cmdr. Peter Halvorsen, commanding officer, USS Carney. “We live here, we work here, we sail in these waters. At any given point in time we could be called upon to operate with all the NATO nations.”
Joint Warrior was centered on a fictitious scenario in which a U.N. sanctioned NATO task group is dispatched to a simulated war zone where fictional nations are in conflict with each other. The task group’s mission is to defend the sovereignty of a victimized nation, suppress terrorism, and to ensure freedom of navigation and unhindered trade in the region.
Joint Warrior benefited Carney across the board. Familiarization with NATO procedures and communication, numerous realistic scenarios, and real surface ships, submarines, fast attack craft, and aircraft attempting to outsmart and outmaneuver Carney all contributed towards making the ship a more capable fighting platform.
Lt. Eva LaFiura, anti-submarine warfare evaluator aboard Carney, said that the training benefit of tracking real submarines was far superior to computer simulations.
“We got to see how a live submarine would maneuver and how that affects our sensors,” LaFiura said.
LaFiura also commented on the benefit of watchstanders seeing real small craft in action against the ship. “We were able to get an actual time-sensitive understanding of how fast an inbound craft can make it to the ship and how important it is to know your pre-planned responses.”
Joint Warrior provided a full spectrum of training opportunities for damage control. When the ship took simulated damage, all casualties were interconnected, affecting other systems just as would occur in real life.
“All too often in the United States Navy we train in isolated scenarios. We train solely in damage control, or solely in combat systems, or solely in anti-terrorism. Joint Warrior afforded us the opportunity to put all that together with real world threats and real world assets,” said Halvorsen.
Lt. j.g. Marina Nanartowich, the damage control assistant aboard Carney, also commented on the intense integrated training.
“Anytime an event would start, whether we were getting a simulated attack on the bridge, or if there were inbound missiles, or a low slow flying aircraft, one thing was certain,” said Narnartowich. ”There were always multiple casualties happening at once. We had to take a step back and prioritize what was going on. There were definitely moments of stress.”
Remaining at general quarters for long periods of time brought another real-world challenge to the crew- how to feed everyone while at battle stations.
The answer: battle messing. Battle messing is the process of feeding all hands in less than 45 minutes by quickly and efficiently rotating them through the mess decks.
“If we are in GQ for long periods of time, we have to make sure that the crew is fed,” said Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Romeo Agliam. “We assessed the damage of our equipment and figured out what our capabilities were. Once we made that assessment, we figured out how to feed 300 Sailors during GQ.”
The culinary specialists aboard Carney quickly handed out plates of food to Sailors outfitted in battle gear. Each Sailor had five minutes to eat and then return, via safe routes, to their respective battle stations.
“It was one of the most impressive things I’ve seen to walk onto the mess decks and it’s completely silent,” said Halvorsen. “Everybody’s doing their thing to get back on station as fast as possible to make sure that the ship maintains fighting capability.”
Joint Warrior gave Carney’s crew the opportunity to put their training to the test with scenarios that felt real as well as becoming more accustomed to working with NATO allies under NATO procedures.
Halvorsen said that most of the time when Carney goes on patrol they operate alone, but that they could be called upon at anytime to operate with other nations.
“We are a four-ship force in Rota,” said Lt. Gerry Mauer, operations officer aboard Carney. “When you integrate within the NATO construct, now you’re talking about dozens of ships that are now able to integrate into the overall mission. It’s a force multiplier working with NATO.”
With Joint Warrior now in Carney’s wake, there is no doubt that the exercise taught new lessons and sharpened the crew’s warfighting skills. This invaluable training will help Carney be a more effective warship for the U.S. Navy in the future.
[UAELUCCN1]Instead of "parts" which is a little ambiguous, I wanted to be specific to what is actually coming together. And at GQ, everyone is involved.