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Mason Sailors Train to Defend Against Sub-Surface Threats

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS160325-23
Release Date: 3/25/2016 1:10:00 PM

By Seaman Janweb B. Lagazo, USS Mason (DDG 87) Public Affairs

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87), assigned to Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, participated in a multi-ship Naval Undersea Warfare Training Assessment Course during the Composite Training Unit Exercise, in preparation for an upcoming overseas deployment.

NUWTAC assesses IKE CSG's ability to perform anti-submarine warfare as a strike group.

During the exercise, Mason deployed a 610-foot, multi-functional towed array listening device attached to a 5,600-foot cable in order to find and track submarines.

"This [undersea warfare] battlegroup certification is important," said Sonar Technician 1st Class Christof Bessler. "It proves we can do ASW as a team and not just as individual ships."

Undersea threats are one component of COMPTUEX, which also tests Mason and the CSG's abilities to evaluate and respond to surface, air and cyber threats.

"This is our final ASW practice operating with the rest of our strike group in preparation for our deployment," said Sonar Technician 1st Class Andrew Hamann, petty officer in charge of MFTA.

Hamann explained his job is not just about "ensuring the proper deployment of MFTA." It also involves "maintaining the safety of personnel and gear, and communicating with the bridge for safe navigation."

Chief Sonar Technician Justin Northup praised his team's "outstanding execution of ASW procedures and tactics."

Fighting submarines while escorting convoys through the Atlantic during World War II made the second USS Mason (DE 529) famous. It has the distinction of being the first U.S. Navy warship manned with a predominantly African-American enlisted crew. This was the first time African-American Sailors were permitted to train and serve in ratings other than cook and steward.

Along with Mason, which is led by Cmdr. Christopher J. Gilbertson, IKE CSG includes aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Monterey (CG 61), and Destroyer Squadron 26 with its associated ships USS Stout (DDG 55), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) and USS Nitze (DDG 94).

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