INDIAN OCEAN (NNS) – A large part of Sailor’s career is training, learning the skills necessary to operate the Navy’s vast array of equipment safely and correctly. Depending on rate, this process could take anywhere from one month to three years.
The journey to reach your first ship in the Navy, commonly referred to as “The Fleet” among Sailors, can be long but rewarding, especially during high intensity exercises such as Talisman Sabre, a bilateral exercise intended to train Australian and U.S. forces in planning and conducting combined task force operations. Seaman Apprentice Vincent Piscopo is among these Sailors and is assigned to USS Preble (DDG 88) and participated in Talisman Sabre 2015.
“When I joined I never imagined I’d be doing what I do today,” said Piscopo. “Six months ago I was working at a Walgreens in Savannah, Georgia. Last week, I was driving an American warship while it refueled from an Australian tanker. I know the Navy doesn’t use the slogan anymore, but I’ve accelerated my life, to say the least.”
This training serves a very serious purpose, to ultimately provide safety and security in this maritime region of the world, by deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.
This concept may not be fully grasped by every Sailor on the day he or she enlists to serve their country, but it becomes apparent during exercises like Talisman Sabre by preparing the U.S. Navy and allied militaries to fight and win if ever called upon.
In the case of Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 2nd Class Jacklyn Maher, also assigned to USS Preble, this realization gave way to a renewed sense of patriotism and duty.
“Honestly, some days it’s hard to see the big picture,” said Maher. “But I realized exactly the extent of what we’re doing during a radar research exercise with the Australian navy. My chief mentioned that what we were doing was something no one had really ever done and I would probably never have the chance to do it again. The fact we could create tactics and procedures for the Navy to implement across the board is amazing. I now realize that what we are doing could save lives and assist greatly, should we ever enter a wartime environment. I’m honored to be afforded the opportunity to be a part of this.”
Talisman Sabre 2015 is a biennial exercise finishing July 18. USS Preble is currently assigned to Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group and is on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.