5/9/2012 By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) William Jamieson, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs
ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) successfully led a simulated strait transit off the eastern coast of the United States May 8.
The exercise was designed to test the participant ship's ability to navigate safely, while also dealing with threats that could be encountered transiting straits in hostile waters.
"This exercise really helped to drive home the importance of coordination and communication between watchstanders, our bridge, and the other ships in the surface action group," said Cmdr. David A. Bretz, commanding officer of Jason Dunham. "Every member of the crew had an important part to play in this exercise, and I'm proud to say they performed up to the high expectations of Jason Dunham."
During the transit, the surface action group was confronted with multiple possible threats, including low-flying aircraft, small boats, and the presence of mines.
"We know we have to go into any strait transit, real or simulated, knowing anything can happen," said Ensign Omar Amakhtari, who served as officer of the deck aboard Jason Dunham during the exercise. "If one watchstander isn't doing his or her job for one moment, it can provide enough of an opening to compromise the ship. Our guys are mindful of that, and they did a great job of showing it."
Special care was taken throughout the exercise to avoid escalating an encounter and turning it into an unnecessary conflict.
"The men and women manning weapons on board are well trained and understand you have to stay calm while maintaining vigilance," said Amakhtari. "Our goal is to pass through without an incident, but we want to always be ready to respond and deal with any situation we confront."
Jason Dunham is a part of Carrier Strike Group 8, which is underway conducting a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) in the Atlantic Ocean, while preparing for their maiden deployment.
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