George Washington Carrier Strike Group Ends USWEX
Ships in the George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG) completed an undersea warfare exercise (USWEX), June 9-11.
USWEX was the arena that gave GWCSG, MH-60R Seahawks from the Saberhawks of Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77, and P-3C Orions and P-8 Poseidons from Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (PATRECONFOR) 7th Fleet an opportunity to improve coordination to combat a simulated opposing force.
“USWEX allowed GWCSG the opportunity to increase war fighting proficiency and integrate, at the force level, anti-submarine warfare with surface and aviation capabilities,” said Capt. Shan Byrne, commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15. “This event leveraged the unique capabilities of the P-8 and MH-60R platforms to work in conjunction with DESRON 15 destroyer ships to create a potent anti-submarine warfare (ASW) strike group.”
Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Kidd (DDG 100) participated in USWEX.
“A lot of the ships in our area of responsibility do not get many opportunities to integrate with the strike group to conduct ASW prosecution,” said Lt. j.g. Courtney Keiser, DESRON 15 ASW officer. “This was a great opportunity to bring multiple assets and use planning tools to execute a whole exercise from start to finish. As a result, we know areas we have improved and where we can improve. “
Along with these surface ships, a U.S. Navy submarine acted as the opposing force.
“My crew enjoyed the opportunity to train with advanced surface and aerial ASW platforms,” said the submarine’s commanding officer. “This type of training is invaluable for improving both my crew’s combat skills, as well as the skills of our surface and air squadron ASW assets.”
PATRECONFOR 7th Fleet is also known as Task Force 72,lead expeditionary maritime patrol and reconnaissance forces in support of 7th Fleet operations ready to engage tomorrow’s adversaries. They promote regional security and enhance theater security cooperation through close interoperation with allied forces, friendly nations and other U.S. military services.
“USWEX allowed us a good baseline to begin USS George Washington 2014 patrol,” said Lt. John Peach, of DESRON 15. “It gave everyone an opportunity to better understand individual roles and responsibilities.”
GWCSG is on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Press Release, June 23, 2014; Image: Wikimedia