PACIFIC OCEAN – In an example of joint service interoperability, the guided missile frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) supported flight training operations with the U.S. Air Force off the coast of southern California, Aug. 23.
During the evolution, Vandegrifts’s crew supported deck landing qualifications (DLQs) for the Air Force’s 55th Helicopter Rescue Squadron (55 RQS) that flies the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter.
Based out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., the 55 RQS is preparing to deploy and needed to conduct the DLQs as part of their pre-deployment training cycle.
“We appreciate the support,” said Air Force Maj. Terry Parham, who took time to explore the ship while his comrades flew their deck landings. “We don’t get a chance to use ships often, so when we have the opportunity to operate with ships we jump on it.”
The two Air Force helicopter crews had flown to San Diego from Tucson prior to beginning the DLQs on board Vandegrift. A total of 34 daytime DLQs and 55 nighttime DLQs were accomplished during the training.
“We were happy to accommodate our fellow military compatriots,” said Cmdr. Luis Alva, Vandegrift’s commanding officer. “It is a great opportunity for my 214 crew members to work hand-in-hand with other branches of the military and to support them for their upcoming deployment.”
Vandegrift is homeported at Naval Base San Diego. The ship and crew are participating the basic phase of the fleet's training cycle in preparation for future operations.