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DESRON 23 Sharpens Skills During Valiant Shield 2007

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070817-04
Release Date: 8/17/2007 12:32:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew Lanese, USS Nimitz Public Affairs

USS NIMITZ, At Sea (NNS) -- Ships of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23 began operations as part of joint Exercise Valiant Shield 2007 in the vicinity of Guam, Aug. 7.

DESRON 23 is embarked aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68), the flagship for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11, and is responsible for four of the ships participating in the eight-day, joint-service exercise to assess the Navy’s ability to work in a multi-carrier and strike group operation.

“Our role in Valiant Shield is to work toward the maximum efficiency of anti-submarine and surface warfare protection with multiple defense groups,” said Cmdr. Kristen Jacobsen, chief staff officer of DESRON 23. “We’re finding the seams between the strike groups so that we can work as one cohesive unit.”

In order to ensure DESRON 23 coordinates its efforts into productive results, the lines of communication are constantly open.

“We use radio and video teleconference on a regular basis between the other strike groups during this evolution,” said Jacobsen. “Coordination is the key to success because we have a lot of live working parts.”

Jacobsen noted that the focus of the joint training among the U.S. military is to enable real-world proficiency, but to also make it easier to integrate military forces from other countries.

“If we can successfully work with all the branches of the U.S. forces, it will be a much easier task to integrate and work with other countries’ militaries, if it was ever required,” said Jacobsen.

One focus for DESRON 23 is seamless coordination with multiple strike groups, and Jacobsen believes that Valiant Shield is the best way to achieve that goal.

“Doing these drills and exercises in real life is much more effective than if we had done this in a simulation,” said Jacobsen. “There’s nothing like seeing a ship in motion or a plane in the sky to know we’re making an impact.”

Valiant Shield focuses on integrated joint training among U.S. military forces, enabling real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces and in detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units at sea, in the air, on the land and in the cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas. Valiant Shield also provides a staff training opportunity for joint command and control of forces for the Hawaii-based Joint Task Force 519 staff and functional component commanders.

The exercise involves more than 22,000 U.S. service members and includes units from the Navy, Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. The Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps will operate a variety of combat aircraft including F/A 18 strike fighters, KC-135 tankers, B-52 bombers and F-16 fighters. In addition, six submarines and more than 25 ships from the Navy will participate along with a Coast Guard cutter.

DESRON 23 is commanded by Capt. Adam Levitt and includes guided-missile destroyers, USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Chaffee (DDG 90), and their embarked detachments from Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 “Scorpions,” and HSL-37 “Easy Riders."

Nimitz left its homeport of San Diego April 2 for a regularly-scheduled deployment and arrived in the U.S. 5th Fleet (C5F) area of operations in May. While operating in C5F, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 flew more than 2,600 sorties and 7,332 hours in support of troops on the ground participating in Operations Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom in Iraq before leaving the Persian Gulf in late July.

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