Boxer Passes Anti-terrorism/Force Protection Certification

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) completed another combat readiness milestone by completing Anti-Terrorism and Force Protection (AT/FP) certification 1.3 with an overall score of 95.78 percent, Nov. 2.

Afloat Training Group (ATG) Pacific inspectors graded and evaluated Boxer Sailors in several critical watch stations and mission sets to include the quarterdeck watch team, Anti-terrorism Watch Officer, deadly force level of knowledge, and ship's reaction force team skills during a series of drills designed to defend the ship from potential threats.

"Every problem, certification, or evolution is a shared responsibility," said Capt. Benjamin Allbritton, Boxer's commanding officer. "This was not a Security or Weapons Department certification, but rather a Boxer certification. The Boxer team was confronted with a huge crew turnover and a paucity of qualified shooters, and through hard work by our leadership, Chiefs' Mess, and deck plate watch standers, we established a strong baseline level of knowledge and replenished our bench to continue preparing for the next deployment."

The certification event was the culmination of several months of training led by Boxer's Anti-Terrorism Training Team.

"We were tested on nine drills that included vehicle-borne IEDs [improvised explosive device], personnel-borne IEDs, pier penetrator, peaceful protest, active shooter, telephonic bomb threat, ship penetrator, small boat attack, and swimmer attack," said Lt. Aaron Mitchem, Boxer's security officer. "I'm confident in the crew's ability to defend Boxer against any terrorist threat."

Boxer's drill team applied skills they trained to throughout the year to prepare for the assessment, resulting in the crew's passing of nine out of nine required drills. As a result of Boxer's performance, the crew completed the assessment ahead of schedule and will not be required to perform the 1.4 remediation assessment.

"To prepare for the ATG 1.3, we trained Sailors in classroom settings which include Security Reaction Force - Basic and Navy Security Force Sentry courses, weapons qualifications, and the Anti-terrorism Training Team (ATTT) conducted drills," said Master-at-Arms 1st Class Billy Young, Boxer's ATTT coordinator. "Duty sections received level of knowledge exams to prepare them mentally for anything ATG could ask."

Certifying in anti-terrorism readiness is one of several requisite mission areas for the ship to be deemed as ready to deploy. Beyond preparing to qualify the ATG assessment, the preparation during drills gave Sailors an opportunity to perform as a team while training for months during Boxer's phased-maintenance availability.

The AT 1.3 assessment tested the ship's crew, and the objective was not to receive a high score, but rather to ensure the crew could confidently and competently identify, communicate and defend the ship against an attack.

"The inspection was a great learning experience regarding what to do in the event of an actual security or force protection alert," said Ship's Serviceman 1st Class Christy Naranjo, Boxer's in-port Officer-of-the-Deck during the assessment. "I learned how to work together as a team to successfully respond to a variety of threats."

AT/FP is one of six mission areas that must maintain high proficiency throughout the maintenance and shakedown phases of a ship's deployment cycle. Other mission areas include medical, damage control, maintenance material management (3M), supply, and explosive safety.

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