The recent visit of the U.S. Navy’s Los Angeles class attack submarine, USS Oklahoma, to the Australian Fleet Base West coincided with the Australian Navy’s biennial Submarine Command Course.
Seven prospective undersea commanding officers from the United States Navy joined their Australian colleagues in training for their future roles.
Shortly after arriving in Australia, the officers toured their Australian host boat for the conduct of the exercise, HMAS Farncomb, which was also berthed alongside.
The sea phase of the course involved embarking in both Farncomb and Oklahoma City for the conduct of a wide range of warfare exercises off the Western Australian coast serving to test their warfare knowledge, leadership skills and suitability for command.
Commander Rick Salazar is a United States Navy submarine officer on exchange and currently posted to the Operations Support Cell at Australian Submarine Group Headquarters, HMAS Stirling.
He pointed out that the course was structured to assess the officers’ abilities to deal with the stresses and challenges of commanding a submarine.
“Initially it is a steep learning curve,” he said.
“The routines at sea on submarines are somewhat different between our two navies, so the candidates have to learn how to deal with these differences fairly quickly before they head to sea.”
Once the officers successfully complete their course, they will go on to command United States Navy submarines based throughout the world.