Mediterranean Sea - Units from the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG) and Turkish Naval Forces participated in a combined exercise.
The training evolutions were comprised of two phases, an anti-submarine warfare exercise (ASWEX) and an air defense exercise (ADEX).
The ASWEX was designed to leverage the unique capabilities and strengths of the U.S. and Turkish navies, while defending multiple units from possible sub-surface threats.
"Anti-submarine warfare is a major component in protecting the U.S. homeland and reassuring our commitment to our NATO partners," said Capt. Scott Switzer, commander of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26, and sea combat commander for Ike CSG. "Working with our counterparts in the Turkish navy helps hone our skills and amplifies our interoperability for future missions."
The ASWEX, Ike CSG's second since departing homeport June 1, focused on communication, maneuvering and surveillance and was executed from guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94).
"This is a great opportunity to work with Turkey and to practice all components of anti-submarine warfare," said Lt. Alex Coker, submarine operations officer for DESRON 26. "The exercise execution was safe and professional for all units involved."
Aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)(Ike) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, along with multiple U.S. and Turkish Naval Forces ships participated in an ADEX.
"Routinely conducting exercises, like today's air defense exercise, strengthens the operational relationship between NATO partners and enhances interoperability between coalition forces in today's complex military environment," said Capt. Dennis Velez, commanding officer of San Jacinto, and air and missile defense commander for Ike CSG. "Additionally, working alongside the Turkish Naval Forces demonstrates our commitment to the region and our NATO allies."
The ADEX portion required communication between participating ships and aircraft in order to share tactical data and carry out a safe exercise.
"All units in the carrier strike group must work together to maintain the recognized air picture," said Lt. Mathew Rechkemmer, air and missile defense commander's liaison officer to Ike CSG. "Our mission is to ensure all ships and aircraft are ready to defend themselves and protect the aircraft carrier at all times."
Throughout the exercise, each unit was responsible for its share of a collaborative effort, strengthening the interoperability between each nation's military. The ships involved in the exercises included Ike CSG ships guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and guided-missile destroyers Nitze and USS Mason (DDG 87); other U.S. ships operating in the area USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), USS Porter (DDG 78), and Turkish G-class frigates TCG Gemlik (F-492), TCG Gaziantep (F-490).
Ike CSG, the centerpiece of the Great Green Fleet initiative, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.