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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Damon Grosvenor
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) departed from Plymouth, England to continue its 9th patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations after completing Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST), Oct. 3, 2019.
FOST was three weeks of integrated warfighting training involving every aspect of the ship. The training is led by the Royal Navy, and it aims to certify NATO ships in advanced warfare areas.
“The crew did a great job during FOST,” said Cmdr. Kelley T. Jones, commanding officer of the ship. “We started off strong and only got better with the great training the Royal Navy provided. With this training under our belt the crew is much more confident in not only their equipment but also themselves.”
During FOST, the firefighting ability of Sailors was tested with simulated fires and flooding occurring in several places at once. Sailors learned to communicate with each other and to fight multiple casualties at the same time. Medical casualties were also added to increase realism and difficulty of the training.
"FOST was a great experience!” said Command Master Chief Jeremy Douglas, the command master chief of the ship. “The crew thoroughly enjoyed it, even though it was challenging, it really allowed us to think outside the box in almost every warfare area. We took a lot of great recommendations away and plan on incorporating them into our day-to-day battle rhythm."
Donald Cook's presence in the North Atlantic is a demonstration of the U.S. Navy's commitment and collective defense of the European region.
USS Donald Cook, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on its 9th patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.
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.