PHILIPPINE SEA (NNS) – Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTI) embarked the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) during a U.S. only, biennial field training exercise Valiant Shield 2016 (VS16) Sept. 23.
WTIs, Lt. Steve Perry and Lt. Nicholas Moskevich, embarked the ship to provide tactical training and guidance to junior Surface Warfare Officers (SWOs) during events such as Surface-to-Air Missile Exercise (SAMEX), Tomahawk Exercise (TLAMEX), and Surface Action Group (SAG) vs SAG.
The WTIs came from the newly established Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC), which provides Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) to the Fleet.
“Our goal is to increase the overall effectiveness of the warfighter and assist the surface community in proper use of their current and future weapons systems by using the most up-to-date procedures and tactics,” said Lt. Steve Perry, the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) WTI embarked on board. “This is important because we realize that the majority of publications and earlier teaching methods available were not always correct or the most up-to-date. As technologies advance, new shipboard systems are developed and placed onboard ships. We work with designers of these technologies and systems to ensure the warfighters have accurate tactical documents to operate these systems.”
Throughout the VS16 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and surface warfare (SUW) events, the WTIs used coaching and mentoring methods during the time spent with the watchstanders to apply their current knowledge to the exercise and to improve their skills by asking questions that led to higher-level tactical discussions.
“Sailors cannot learn everything from the textbook, so we fill in that void as WTIs,” said Perry. “We bring the knowledge to the Sailors in a strictly training format. We do not assess or certify, we focus solely on training.”
During the 12-day stay aboard McCampbell, the WTIs expanded the understanding of what it means to stand a watch used during a multi-platform situation.
“As technologies rapidly advance, our warfare tactics become more complex,” said Cmdr. Ed Angelinas, McCampbell’s commanding officer. “Having the WTIs onboard helped my team think outside of the box and become better tacticians in a complex warfare environment.”
In the future, the WTIs hope to make an impact in the fleet.
“With more WTIs graduating from their respective schools and their assignments to ships, there will be an increase in tactical proficiency,” said Perry, “We refer to it as a force multiplier. On every ship, WTIs will share their knowledge and skillsets. And then, they will rotate to another command to continuously spread this knowledge.”
VS16 is a biennial, U.S. only, field training exercise (FTX) with a focus on integration of joint training among U.S. forces in relation to current operational plans. This training enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land, and in cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas.
McCampbell is on patrol with the Carrier Strike Group Five (CSG 5) in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.