USS Mason takes part in live-fire exercises

USS Mason
USS Mason (DDG 87) fires a MK 45 5-inch gun during a Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) Exercise. Photo: US Navy

U.S. Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS Mason, assigned to Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, participated in a multiship warning shot/disabling fire exercise during a composite training unit exercise in the Atlantic Ocean, April 4.

“The warning and disabling exercise simulates a scenario where Mason is faced with a potential MIO (maritime interdiction operation) vessel that refuses to slow and allow a boarding”, said Cmdr. Christopher J. Gilbertson, Mason’s commanding officer.

Gilbertson explained, if the threat is validated and the fleet commander authorizes it, the ship will use warning shots or if deemed necessary disabling fire to force a vessel to accept Mason’s boarding team alongside.

The target was an unmanned vessel towed with a 5,000 foot cable by a training support vehicle, Hugo. Hugo, a government-owned and civilian-crewed ship, is able to perform a variety of military training functions to include electronic warfare services, operational security monitoring, cryptologic training, threat simulation, maritime interdiction operations training support and mine laying and retrieval operations.

Mason engaged the unmanned vessel with 10 blind, loaded and plugged rounds fired from the MK 45 5-inch gun, 100 rounds from a M2HB .50-caliber machine gun, 100 rounds from an M240B machine gun, 100 rounds from a 25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun, and 200 rounds from close-in-weapons system.

All rounds were deployed to the stern of the towed target. Half of the rounds served as warning shots while the remaining rounds were aimed to hit the target.

Mason participated in WD-EX along with guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey and guided-missile destroyers USS Stout and USS Roosevelt. The ship is underway conducting a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group in preparation for a future deployment.