U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY – Guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) Sailors completed a series of anti-terrorism force protection drills in the Arabian Gulf, May 20-22.
The drills were intended to test the ship's ability to respond to potential threats while at anchor and in overseas ports combating land-based, waterborne and airborne terrorist attacks.
The ship’s Executive Officer Cmdr. Allen Johnson said Sailors should be able to respond effectively and promptly as a unit when circumstances force them to make timely decisions.
“Practicing pre-planned responses in a drill setting cultures the necessary skills that are needed should a real world problem present itself,” he said. “The measures we take now will sharpen our ability to respond without hesitation.”
The Sailors responded to simulated ship penetrations, small boat attacks and hostage situations among many other scenarios. Watch standers used training weapons while the Higgins anti-terrorism training team acted as potential threats to the security of the ship.
Ensign Erin Reinke, an anti-terrorism watch officer, briefed Sailors from the pilot house through the use of the ship’s general announcing system on the unfolding details of the given scenarios.
“We never know when an attack may happen, so the preparations we take now will teach us how to handle situations,” said Reinke. “We will fight how we drill. Therefore, we take these scenarios seriously so we are ready when the time comes.”
Higgins is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility promoting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.