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USS Freedom's Blue Crew receives Rapid Refresh training

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100427-16

By Kimberly M. Lansdale, Center for Surface Combat Systems Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Freedom's (LCS 1) Blue Crew received unit level training, known as Rapid Refresh that ended April 8 at the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Shore-Based Training Facility (SBTF) in San Diego. It's the first time the training has been implemented and taught to an LCS crew.

The training was used to prepare the crew for Freedom's participation in Rim of Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2010 later this year.

LCS crews are required to complete Rapid Refresh during their off-ship cycle. In this case, the Blue Crew received the training while Freedom's Gold Crew mans the ship during its current deployment.

SBTF provides an integrated command and control environment to support training in both navigation and combat systems mission areas. The simulator is designed to look and feel like an LCS ship's bridge while maneuvering at sea. It integrates synthetic radar scenarios with a corresponding video display that creates a very lifelike tactical training environment for the Integrated Command Center (ICC) and bridge watchstanders.

During the first two weeks of instruction crew members received proficiency training and theater of operations familiarization. Specific training objectives were created by subject matter experts at the LCS Squadron (LCSRON) and the ship's commanding officer, Cmdr. Kris Doyle, that focused on Hawaii's area of operation (AOR). To provide a more realistic training experience, the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group along with multinational forces, were incorporated into the training scenarios.

"The three sections of six-man command and control watch teams are able to train using realistic performance models and the actual combat system tactical code," explained Joe Shifflett, director of training for LCS SBTF. "Proficiency training and certification objectives of Rapid Refresh are based on the likely operational tasking and threat in the geographic area to which the crew will be deployed."

In addition to being evaluated by the SBTF staff, watch standers and watch teams were evaluated by their Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Kris Doyle, Executive Officer Cmdr. Jim Edwards and LCS squadron staff members.

"The staff and facilities at the LCS SBTF have been invaluable in our preparation for carrier strike group operations and RIMPAC 2010," said Doyle. "The exercise scenarios are robust and realistic. They stressed and stretched the teams while always reinforcing the best practices of bridge and combat watch standing. Our teams had the added benefit of operating in Hawaii's AOR. The scenarios drew from RIMPAC's upcoming schedule of events, used RIMPAC geography, and our communications set-up included forecasted RIMPAC players of U.S. and coalition forces."

According to Shifflett, the first ever Rapid Refresh Training taught to an LCS crew was success.

"The feedback thus far has been very positive, and I am very proud of the job my staff did," Shifflett said.

When Freedom's Gold Crew returns from deployment they will turnover the ship to the Blue Crew and attend their first Rapid Refresh Training at LCS SBTF.

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