PHILIPPINE SEA (Sept. 22, 2016) – A Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI) embarked the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) to lead surface warfare exercises, observe tactics and improve processes while the ship was participating in Valiant Shield 2016, a biennial, joint-training field exercise.
During Valiant Shield, Lt. Aaron Jochimsen, a WTI, spent much of his time working from the ship’s combat watch floor. He observed Benfold’s procedures and identified ways to improve their processes as well as sharing his expertise with the Sailors standing watch.
“I assist watchstanders aboard Benfold as they employ new tactics, and I take back the lessons learned and refine our doctrine and tactics,” said Jochimsen.
Jochimsen emphasized to the crew that Naval warfare is becoming more and more complex everyday, which requires methods to evolve and remain adaptable to new and changing threats. WTIs are the Navy’s answer to those threats. History has proven that forces who continually adapt and advance their tactics are successful, which is a key lesson to the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed forces in their mission.
“As WTIs, we take a critical approach to tactics and write and revise them to reflect the way we use them in today’s Navy,” said Jochimsen.
WTIs train at the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center as junior Surface Warfare Officers, specializing in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and surface warfare (SUW). Jochimsen is a trained expert in both areas, which brought even more experience to the combat watch floor during Valiant Shield.
Cmdr. Justin Harts, Benfold’s commanding officer, said that Jochimsen’s subject-matter expertise was quite beneficial during his time on board the ship.
“It’s very useful to have a WTI on board who has a thorough understanding of both threat and friendly capabilities and limitations, and can walk the team through the nuances of a new tactic,” Harts said. “Our team gains insight into the fundamental theory of a tactic and has an opportunity to improve upon it.”
Jochimsen had 12 days to work with Benfold’s watchstanders during Valiant Shield before he returned to his parent command at Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center.
Valiant Shield is a biennial, U.S. only, field-training exercise with a focus on integration of joint training among U.S. forces. This is the sixth exercise in the Valiant Shield series that began in
2006. Benfold is on patrol with Carrier Strike Group Five (CSG 5) in the Philippine Sea
supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.