*Representational Picture Courtesy-ejinsight.com
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88), along with the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), and the guided-missile destroyers USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS Sampson (DDG 102), sailed in formation with the Indian Navy Talwar-class frigate INS Tarkash (F50), March 25.
The event was a naval greeting and training exercise between partner nations as Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) transitions from fighting ISIS while in the Arabian Gulf to operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations such as counter-piracy, freedom of navigation operations and training.
Warfare commanders from the U.S. Navy ships and the Indian Navy ship practiced working together and strengthened their crews’ ship handling. Exercises included drills in communications and navigating in several close formations.
“This exercise offered a unique opportunity to further our capabilities to operate with and learn from one another,” said Cmdr. Allen Maxwell Jr., commanding officer of Preble. “It’s an excellent test for our watchstanders to exercise their flexibility as warfighters and to interact with foreign vessels in a tactical environment. Preble is dedicated to ensuring its ability to work together with our allies and partners and deal with common concerns such as disaster relief and safety of sea lanes.”
Additionally, 10 Indian Sailors toured spaces aboard Preble such as combat information center, central control station, and the bridge while 10 Preble Sailors visited Tarkash.
“Having the opportunity to go over to the Indian ship was an awesome cultural experience,” said Ensign Grace E. Pruden, a Sailor assigned to Preble. “I was surprised by how much was the same, but also intrigued to learn how our ship and the crew run differently. They were a very hospitable ship, eager to share with us and learn from us.”
Pruden said that the crew size, weapons systems, air capabilities, gas turbine engines, and officer and enlisted ranking were comparable to that of Preble. However, she noted differences in officer training programs.
“Whatever field their officers are in when they join is what they will stay in for their entire career, which for most is a minimum of 20 years,” said Pruden. “The idea of changing departments after a tour, or even during a tour, along with standing watches outside of the department we are in, as we do, really surprised them.”
While touring each other’s ships for the afternoon, Sailors had the chance to learn how they operate on a day-to-day basis and experience life at sea from a different perspective.
“The officers and crew of Tarkash were fantastic hosts and extremely welcoming to our group,” said Ensign Adam B. Campbell, a Sailor assigned to Preble. “It was very impressive that a cook staff of only five sailors could produce such a wide variety of delicious, fresh foods for a crew of 300 people three times a day.”
After a formal gift exchange between leadership and friendly conversation, Sailors returned to their ships on a rigid-hull inflatable boat to conclude the exercise.
Preble is currently deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations with the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, along with the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), and guided-missile destroyers USS Halsey (DDG 97), USS Higgins (DDG 76) and USS Sampson (DDG 102). The TRCSG deployment is an example of the U.S. Navy's routine presence in waters around the globe, displaying commitment to stability, regional cooperation and economic prosperity for all nations. Preble departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for a regularly scheduled deployment, Oct. 16, to the U.S. 7th and 5th Fleet areas of operations in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.