PHILIPPINE SEA (March 12, 2018) – A Houston, Texas native and 2017 Prairie View A&M University graduate, Ensign Anthony Williams Jr., is now serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54).
Williams is a commissioned officer aboard Antietam operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. Antietam is one of three cruisers forward-deployed to Yokosuka.
A commissioned officer is responsible for leading and motivating their sailors and running an effective division. As the Strike Officer he is in charge of the vertical launching system (VLS), the weapons system that launches Tomahawks, Standard Missile 2s (SM-2) and Harpoons.
“I believe the most important aspect of the Navy I have learned so far is leadership,” said Williams. “There is a lesson in leadership for almost every aspect of life. As a fresh new ensign who doesn't know much of anything, it's not always so much about what you know; in fact, the real test is using the tools and resources around you to get what you need and accomplish your task.”
Antietam is currently participating in MultiSail 2018. MultiSail is an annual bilateral training exercise that improves interoperability between U.S. and Japanese forces. In 2018 the focus of the exercise will be on improving fundamental skills such as tracking and defeating submarines, combating other surface forces, live fire training, and interoperability with U.S. and Japan Self Defense Force (JMSDF) units.
“As an ensign, there will almost never be a time where you're not leading or learning,” said Williams. “Being in charge of the vertical launch system during MultiSail, is one of the best environments to learn and lead my Sailors. With VLS being such an important and valuable asset for combat, it makes you feel like one of the MVP’s in the grand scheme of things.”
The participants in MultiSail 2018 are Antietam, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS Benfold (DDG 65), USS Mustin (DDG 89), along with JMSDF’s ship JS Fuyuzuki (DD-118) and a number of subsurface and other special units.
The participating forces exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of our combined forces. These capabilities range from maritime security operations to more complex anti-submarine and air defense exercises.
“I believe Multi-Sail is important because of the various opportunities it bequeaths to us as far
as working with other nations, understanding our diverse weapons and navigation systems, as
well as just having fun,” said Williams.
MultiSail 2018 uses realistic, shared training scenarios to enhance the ability of the U.S. Navy
and JMSDF to work together to confront any contingency. MultiSail prepares forces that will
provide the deterrence and stabilizing effects of a force-in-being, ready at the outset of a
contingency without delays for buildups or extensive mission rehearsal.
"MultiSail is an opportunity for our ships to increase our combat proficiency at sea," said Capt.
Jon Duffy, commander, Destroyer Squadron 15. "We have designed MultiSail to exercise how
we detect, locate, track and engage simulated units at sea, in the air, on land, and underwater
with our Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force allies to help us increase our interoperability in a
range of mission areas."
Antietam is operating as part of the Ronald Reagan Strike Group in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of
operations, a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of its
allies and partners in the region.