- USS Preble (DDG 88) conducted three Tomahawk Operational Test Launches (OTLs) off the coast of Southern California, Sept. 28, 29 and 30.
Launching one Tomahawk missile each day, the OTLs were conducted by USS Preble with coordination from Commander 2nd Fleet, Commander 3rd Fleet, Commander 6th Fleet, Washington Planning Center, Naval Air Systems Command, Naval Sea Systems Command, Marine Corps Systems Command, and 3rd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO).
The event was an extraordinary success. Cmdr. Joe Cahill, USS Preble Commanding Officer, said, "I am so proud of my team today. It is a rare opportunity to launch a Tomahawk, let alone three, and they were ready to execute the mission. We flexed our crew and weapons systems, and I couldn't be prouder."
The OTL mission sets included a number of mission firsts. On Sept. 29, Commander, Carrier Strike Group Two, embarked onboard USS George H. W. Bush, tasked Preble to execute the OTL mission. This event marked the first time a Carrier Strike Group served as the Tasking Authority for a Tomahawk test launch.
The OTLs conducted on Sept. 28 and 30 utilized a new minimum-range mission, meaning the target and launch platform were separated by a smaller distance than any previously conducted TLAM launch.
Additionally, for the first time ever in any Tomahawk mission, the U.S. Marine Corps was an active participant. A Firepower Control Team and Fire Support Coordination Center, manned by 3rd ANGLICO Marines, served as the Supported Ground Combat Element, acquiring and transmitting target coordinates to Tomahawk mission planners.
Platform Test Coordinator Marcos Gonzalez was onboard Preble during the launches. He said, "The Operational Test Launches demonstrate the capability of the Tomahawk Weapon System to meet its prescribed guidance and target objectives. With the tremendous support and dedication of the crew of USS Preble, new capabilities of the system were tested."
USS Preble is part of Destroyer Squadron Seven and will deploy with the Ronald Reagan Strike Group in 2011.