It was a seemingly routine Wednesday for any pier-side surface ship in the U.S. Navy, capped off by a visit from a rear admiral that involved a discussion with the wardroom and finally an all hands call.
However, Wednesday, Aug. 14 featured two critical differences on board USS Benfold (DDG 65) that would distinguish it from the ritual pier-side day with a visit from a senior officer.
First, the Benfold crew was on its third day of simulated underway training complete with round-the-clock watches on the bridge, in the combat information center (CIC), and in the central control station (CCS).
Continuing with the intense training, the crew expeditiously set flight quarters the morning of the rear admiral’s visit to replicate the conditions required to bring personnel on board while underway.
Secondly, Rear Adm. James Kilby engaged the wardroom and crew in a uniquely frank and personal discussion on the purpose of his ship visits and his vision for the future of the Navy.
Kilby is the Commander of the Naval Surface Warfighting Development Center, which is a command that serves to expand the Surface Navy’s tactics development and training.
After Kilby arrived on board Benfold, he received a quick tour of the ship and spoke briefly with Cmdr. Michele Day, the ship’s commanding officer, before entering the wardroom to address all of the officers.
At the conclusion of his overview, Kilby opened the floor to informal discussion and was immediately met with a flood of enthusiastic questions.
Following the wardroom discussion, Kilby addressed the crew on the flight deck to explain the future of the program and answer any questions.
Instead of returning to work a normal in port routine, the crew sprang back into action and reset flight quarters to simulate the admiral’s departure by helicopter.
Benfold is currently completing a CNO availability that will see the most advanced upgrades to her Aegis Weapons and Ballistic Missile Defense systems.