Afloat Training Group West Pacific puts McCampbell’s Sailors to the Test
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Declan Barnes
EAST CHINA SEA – The Afloat Training Group (ATG) Western Pacific (WP) boarded the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) from July 18-22 to conduct a series of ship-wide tests, putting the ship’s crew in the spot light in order to evaluate their mission readiness.

ATG-WP is in charge of running basic phase training for all nineteen ships in the Navy’s Forward Deployed Naval Force (FDNF), including the USS George Washington strike group, forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.

“Maintaining basic training requirements is extremely important out here in FDNF, and our focus is to evaluate and improve McCampbell’s core warfare mission areas so she can execute any mission at hand,” said Lt. Cmdr. Theodore Mac Quidem, ATG West Pacific’s director of training.

During the rigorous five-day evaluation, the crew preformed nearly every training evolution possible. The drills included anti-terrorism training, damage control training, engineering awareness training and medical response training. During the drills, the crew responded to a wide variety of dangerous simulated environments, including flooding, toxic gas atmospheres, hazardous material spills, various fires throughout the spaces, a simulated man overboard rescue and multiple terrorist situations throughout the ship.

McCampbell has been holding daily training during its summer deployment in order to prepare for the ATG assessment while also meeting the demanding requirements of 7th Fleet operations with George Washington Strike Group.

“McCampbell is performing extremely well, and I believe that is because they have taken a steady approach to constantly training their Sailors,” said Quidem. “They have made training an integral part of what they do day in and day out, and it shows in their success during these evaluations.”

The months of training certainly has taken an effect on everyone involved, but many members of the crew appreciate how it has prepared them to perform when they need to.

“We’ve been preparing for this for a long time, and I really feel like the crew knows how to handle the pressure and get through this,” said Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Gerald Battle. “This has been very challenging for us, but overall a great learning experience for everyone.”

McCampbell’s dedication impressed the ATG team and lead to strong performances throughout the heavy workdays.

“I’ve been extremely impressed by the enthusiasm and motivation of the crew. That’s evident in the energy that they put into succeeding in these drills, despite the 15-16 hour work days and nonstop pressure they have to face during this,” said Quidem. “McCampbell’s Sailors treat everything that they do very seriously, whether it’s a real world scenario or training. I can clearly see that they take great pride in doing their job well.”

McCampbell is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan and is underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
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