SOUTH CHINA SEA (NNS) -- Sailors from the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) and the “Gremlins” of embarked Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78 detachment have been working together to earn their Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS) and Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) pins.
The Dewey deployed March 31 as a part of the Sterett-Dewey Surface Action Group. It is the third deploying group operating under the command and control construct called 3rd Fleet Forward. The first iteration in recent history occurred in 2016 with the Pacific Surface Action Group deployment and was further executed with the January 2017 deployment of the Carl Vinson Strike Group.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) was the first cruiser/destroyer (CRUDES) class of ship to offer this program to its Sailors last year, which requires Sailors to have their primary warfare pin before enrolling.
“It’s great that we get this opportunity without having to be on an aircraft carrier or LHD,” said Damage Controlman 2nd Class Regis Suavá McKinney, from Memphis Tennessee. “This is the best relationship I’ve had with an air detachment during a deployment. They want to help us get our wings like we want to help them get their surface pin, and it creates better unit cohesion because we are helping each other succeed in a common goal.”
Gaining a secondary warfare pin not only helps Sailors stand out among the ranks, but it also helps provide Sailors assigned to both the air detachment and ship’s company a greater appreciation for one another.
“I think this is a great program, and I am happy that we have the ability to offer it to our Sailors,” said Command Master Chief Michael Noullet. “It takes a lot of initiative and motivation to take on a project like a warfare qualification on top of their daily work, and it shows our Sailors’ ‘Will to Fight!’”
To earn each pin Sailors must meet the predetermined prerequisites, complete training to receive signatures, and pass both written and oral examinations.
“We have been working together to arrange time to hold warfare training three times a week, as well as holding a “power hour” study session once a week,” said Aviation Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Carlmarwin Narvasa, from Cebu City, Philippines.
Warfare qualified Sailors are an essential element of the Navy’s operational commitments,” said Sonar Technician 1st Class Travis Johnson, from San Diego California. “The objective is to provide Sailors with the information necessary to support the warfighting requirements of the Navy. A warfare pin standardizes effectiveness, combat readiness and survivability, as well as introduces an overall understanding of how an individual unit mission fits into and supports naval doctrine and its objectives. It is essential for every Sailor to be familiar with and support the command’s current and future missions.”
Throughout its deployment, the Sterett-Dewey SAG will operate with regional naval services to conduct routine patrols, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation activities to enhance regional security and stability in the Western Pacific.
U.S. 3rd Fleet retained control of the Sterett-Dewey SAG when it crossed the international dateline into what has traditionally been U.S. 7th Fleet’s operational control area. U.S. 3rd Fleet operating forward offers additional options to the Pacific Fleet commander by leveraging the capabilities of both the 3rd and 7th fleets. This operational concept allows both numbered fleets to complement one another and provide the foundation of stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy, constantly coordinating with U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions based on their complementary strengths to promote ongoing peace, security, and stability throughout the Pacific theater of operations.
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