The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Underwood (FFG 36) completed Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMTUEX) April 30 and is deploying to Central and South America and the Caribbean in support of Southern Seas 2012.
The ship participated in events for COMTUEX that simulated various situations, including combat-orientated exercises.
“This was a great opportunity for us to get underway working in a multi-ship, complex warfare environment and set us up very well for success on deployment,” said Cmdr. Michael D. Brassuer, USS Underwood executive officer.
The COMPTUEX included a live-fire gun exercise of the ship’s weapon systems, simulated missile attacks, small boat attacks, man overboard drills, underway replenishments, and ship boarding training by the visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team. Underwood also sailed in formation with other U.S. Navy ships and practiced evasive maneuvers. These exercises were designed to be as true-to-life as possible.
“It was realistic training,” said Brassuer. “I could see by the watch team’s reactions that they thought the scenarios were real.”
One of the highlights of COMTUEX for Underwood was the VBSS ship boarding exercise. The team boarded a simulated “ship of interest”, USNS Hugo (TYL-8201), to search the vessel. They provided medical aid and engineering support during the simulation.
“For COMTUEX, the VBSS team gets ready to be certified so that in case of emergencies, we can board vessels to search for any kind of contraband, such as illegal drugs and firearms,” said Electricians Mate 2nd Class Aldo Rodriguez, a member of the VBSS team aboard Underwood. “They just want us to be ready to go whenever we spot a suspicious ship in the area.”
Underwood is deploying in support of Southern Seas 2012. Its first exercise will be UNITAS Pacific (UNITAS PAC), an exercise with foreign navies of South America, designed to practice security and stability operations. Crew members will also participate in community relation events while in port and will perform maritime security operations at sea.
Underwood completed COMTUEX to gain qualifications required for its deployment.
“It gave us a chance to come together as a team and get ready for deployment,” said Brassuer.
UNITAS, Latin for “unity”, is the oldest maritime exercise conducted each year since 1959. The multinational exercise is focused on operating and training together in scenario-based environments, theater security operations, anti-terrorism and anti-narcotic operations. UNITAS also includes live-fire exercises, humanitarian assistance and disaster response training.
U.S. personnel are given the opportunity to work and train side-by-side with sailors of Latin American navies and build relationships. The relationships that develop from this exercise will help foster cooperation and understanding between participating countries.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) support U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
Naval Today Staff , May 01, 2012;