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Multinational Navies Perform Naval Surface Fire Support Evolution

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070520-04
Release Date: 5/20/2007 9:48:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Coleman Thompson, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic

ABOARD USS BAINBRIDGE, At Sea (NNS) -- Ships from a NATO coalition force successfully completed a naval surface fire support (NSFS) and a combined sea and air fire support mission off the coast of Scotland during the Neptune Warrior course May 1.

Ships from the United Kingdom, Germany and the U.S. came into a column formation and fired at a target beach in a simulated attack during the course. The mission was in support of the United Kingdom’s amphibious task force.

“This was very exciting day today. U.S. ships do not normally form a gun firing line with ships of other countries and conduct naval surface fires with combined air support,” said Capt. John Gelinne, commander Destroyer Squadron 22. “To execute simultaneous naval gunfire in combination with aircraft from the U.K. aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (R06) was truly impressive.”

Weeks of planning and coordination went into bringing the Bainbridge, USS Normandy (CG 60), HMS Kent (F 78), HMS Manchester (D 95) and FGS Hessen (F 221) together to provide support for a naval amphibious landing force.

“The significance of this NSFS is the fact that we shot with a German ship, ships of the Royal Navy and the Bainbridge; a brand new ship commissioned in November 2005,” said Ensign Matthew A. Goetz, Bainbridge strike officer. “Every shoot is significant because we’re shooting high explosive rounds, but this was very significant because we had five ships in a column all firing in order.”

To maintain a fluent line of communication, a Royal Naval gunnery liaison officer was embarked on board Bainbridge. His role was to provide instructions on communication techniques and organizing the firing plan.

The Neptune Warrior course was designed to help NATO coalition forces to cooperate and increase interoperability in a maritime combat environment. The course is held biannually and is organized by the United Kingdom.

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