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Truxtun Conducts Gunnery Exercise During Composite Training Unit Exercise

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110206-01

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Richard J. Stevens, George H.W. Bush Strike Group

USS TRUXTUN, At Sea (NNS) -- The USS Truxtun (DDG 103) Weapons department conducted a gunnery exercise (GUNEX), Jan. 23, during a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) with the George H.W. Bush (GHWB) Strike Group.

"We're trying to build a force protection team to efficiently and safely protect this ship and the people who live on it. That's our mission," said Gunner's Mate 3rd Class Shelby L. Winter.

Winter's responsibility for the exercise included setting up an M-240B weapon with a mount and ammunition. During the exercise Winter manned and fired the weapon with accuracy despite unfavorable conditions.

"It was a little hard to complete the exercise because we were in rough seas," said Winter.

By the end of the exercise, Winter was drenched in salt water. The sea spray and cold air added a new variable to the exercise.

According to Ens. Charles A. Janssen, USS Truxtun weapons officer, the possible enemies on the receiving end of these weapons are many and varied. During the GUNEX, force protection personnel were on the lookout for enemy small boats, derelict merchant vessels and small aircraft, he said.

"It's all about planning," said Janssen. "The exercises get more complicated when we throw in moving targets and other ships from the strike group."

During the exercise several changes occurred. All of the stations needed to be moved from port to starboard.

"Nothing went according to plan, but it's about adapting to a real world situation," said Janssen. "Flexibility, communication, adaptation and execution are essential."

Sailors don't have to be part of Truxtun's Weapons department to participate in the mission of force protection and ship security. Weapons training is available for anyone on the ship who is interested.

"The exercises give us more experience," said Janssen. "If we don't have good enough experience we will have an increased threat."

Along with USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), GHWB Strike Group assets participating in COMPTUEX/JTFEX include USS Mitscher (DDG 57), USS Gettysburg (CG 64), USS Truxtun (DDG 103), USS Anzio (CG 68), the squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, and the Spanish frigate ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbon (F 102). GHWB Strike Group is scheduled to depart on its first overseas deployment this spring.

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