PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) participated in a show of force strait transit exercise off the coast of southern California, Aug. 6, as part of Halsey's composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX).
In the scenario, Halsey was the lead destroyer ahead of aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Preble (DDG 88) and USS Sampson (DDG 102). The ships of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) steamed in restricted waters outside San Clemente Island.
During the transit, Halsey deployed a MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the "Battlecats" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 73 to provide aerial support.
The small craft action team (SCAT) manned their crew-served weapon mounts and provided observation, communication, and protection for the ship. One likely event during a strait transit in a hostile territory is a fast attack craft (FAC) interaction.
In the scenario, Halsey was approached by FAC and practiced using pre-planned responses to hail, query, and warn the vessels.
Halsey's Ship's Nautical or Otherwise Photographic Interpretation and Examination (SNOOPIE) team gathered intelligence in the form of full-motion video and photographs for documentation and analysis.
"Multiple times, we had three small boats approach the ship," described SCAT member Yeoman 3rd Class Logan Springer. "They came within 300 yards, then turned outbound and made continuous laps near the ship."
This transit allowed watchstanders to apply training to an evolving or escalating situation that simulates stressful scenarios that could occur on deployment.
"Thanks to our training, we knew not to engage," said Springer. "We knew when to track and when to cover, and knew the step-by-step process. Our objective is to protect the ship, but only engage if instructed, so our presence is a show of force tactic."
The exercise taught ships and air assets to work together, as well as allowed TRCSG to fully integrate and implement its capabilities as a deploying force.
The TRCSG is conducting its final pre-deployment evaluation to ensure safe and effective coordination within the strike group to achieve mission readiness and the ability to effectively execute the Navy's maritime strategy. Following the successful completion of COMPTUEX, the TRCSG will conduct worldwide operations in its upcoming deployment.
TRCSG is comprised of Carrier Strike Group 9 staff, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23 staff, Theodore Roosevelt, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, and DESRON 23 ships Halsey, Higgins, Preble and Sampson, as well as Bunker Hill.
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