WEST SEA OF THE PHILIPPINES --
The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) participated in a training evolution with Philippine navy frigate Gregorio Del Pilar (PF 15) and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer JS Sazanami (DD 113) Oct. 23.
During the evolution, the ships conducted several drills in live-fire gunnery, communications, and close-in maneuvering.
“It was a very professional, well executed event,” said Cmdr. Steven Liberty, Antietam’s executive officer. “These types of evolutions help strengthen our ties with our regional partners, and help ensure that we have the ability to work together in the future to ensure peace and stability in the region.”
The events were challenging at times due to the coordination needed for three navies, all used to operating in a different way.
“It was really helpful in getting us familiar with how they operate and how they communicate,” said Lt. j.g. Jordan Klein, from Olympia, Washington, who was the officer-of-the-deck during the navigational portion of the evolution. “If we had to do this in a real-world scenario, we know we can adapt and work with them very quickly.”
For the crew, it was exciting opportunity to conduct a live-fire gunnery exercise with the .50 caliber machine guns.
“The gun shoot coordination was really good,” said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Nathan Russell, from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. “We went right down the line, one ship after another, taking turns firing.”
Antietam is on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.