USS Whidbey Island Takes Part in Citadel Shield 2013

USS Whidbey Island Takes Part in Citadel Shield 2013

The crew of the landing dock ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41), the Coast Guard and the Virginia Beach Fire Department participated in Citadel Shield 2013 at Joint Expeditionary Base (JEB) Little Creek-Fort Story Feb. 21.

This annual exercise is designed to enhance the training and readiness of Navy security forces and emergency responders to react to threats to installations and units.

 “This exercise helps us coordinate between different elements on the installation to respond to any sort of threats that we may face,” said Rod Reich, the installation training officer at JEB Little Creek-Fort Story.

The exercise involved a simulated small boat attack on Whidbey Island. Different assets on the installation were brought in to fight fires, treat wounded Sailors, recover a man overboard, and defend the ship from additional attacks.

 “The scenario involved Coast Guard, Navy, and the Virginia Beach Fire Department working together to respond to a USS Cole-style attack,” said Reich. “This took months of planning and the lessons that we learn from this will be used to improve our responses for future exercises.”

The Coast Guard sent two fast-speed rescue boats to recover the man overboard while the installation fire department arrived on scene to set up a triage center and respond to fires on the ship.

 “This exercise is important in that it tests our ability to operate efficiently together to ensure the safety of all the Navy’s assets on this installation and to protect our Sailors,” said Capt. Frank Hughlett, commanding officer JEB Little Creek-Fort Story.

Hughlett was on the pier to witness the exercise and was pleased with what he saw.

 “I think the scenario went well and the personnel on the installation worked well with the Coast Guard, Virginia Beach Fire Department, and the crew of Whidbey Island,” he said. “We can take lessons from this and improve upon our operations so we may be prepared for any type of threat and respond quickly and professionally to it.”

Naval Today Staff, February 22, 2013; Image: US Navy