CDS 9 Ships
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean Gallagher, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9, part of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, completed Naval Surface Fire Support(NSFS) recertification, Feb. 5, off the coast of San Clemente Island.

Having re-attained this certification allows the destroyers USS Shoup (DDG 86) and USS Momsen (DDG 92) to support the nation's maritime strategy by coming to the aid of forces ashore under enemy fire.

NSFS is an exercise in which destroyers and cruisers train to fire deck guns ashore in support of ground troops.

"This exercise is an important test of a ship's firing capabilities," said Lt. Lawrence Repass, a Chicago native and prospective training and readiness officer for DESRON 9. "There is a slim margin of error involved with firing over the heads of friendly forces and the point of this is to ensure ships can hit their targets without endangering civilians or our troops."

According to Repass, the exercise began in January when the Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Pacific (EWTGPAC) visited Shoup and Momsen. EWTGPAC monitored the skills of the ships' firing teams, ensuring that they were ready for the test at sea.

The live test was a scenario-based exercise in which Shoup and Momsen fired their five-inch, 62-caliber guns at practice targets. The destroyers were presented with the challenge of having to use indirect fire to shoot at targets that may not even be visible from the ship. Momsen and Shoup fired approximately 45 rounds each Feb. 3 and Feb. 5, respectively.

In order to hit targets at great distances with shells, the ships relied on the report of a ground-based observer. The observer radioed the coordinates of the enemy to the ship which then used a global grid system to aim its cannons and eliminate the threat.

"We have accomplished our mission in total; it has been a grand success," said Repass. "In reality, everyone is involved in this. It takes a big team effort to make this exercise happen."

The completion of NSFS was a major step forward for DESRON 9 in accomplishing their Sustainment Exercise (SUSTAINEX). "The overall purpose of the SUSTAINEX is to ensure that the ships of DESRON 9 are major combat ready," said Repass. "They always have been, and always will be ready for action."

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