US Navy Staff Embarks HMS Ark Royal for Multinational Exercise

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The staff assigned to Commander, Destroyer Squadron (COMDESRON) 24, embarked aboard the HMS Ark Royal (R07) Oct. 6-17 to serve as the task group command and control element during the multinational exercise Joint Warrior.

Joint Warrior is a multi-platform course led by the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS) in the United Kingdom. The biannual exercise brings together Navy, Marine, Army and Air Force units from various allied and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries to practice interoperability and joint rules of engagement in a controlled environment.

“Joint Warrior allows the U.S and allied navies to explore real-world challenges on a strategic, operational, and tactical level,” said Capt. John Kersh, commander of Destroyer Squadron 24. “We also have the unique opportunity to work side-by-side with our British counterparts aboard a Royal Navy aircraft carrier. At the end of the day, we’ll all be much further along in integrated training.”

According to Sailors assigned to COMDESRON 24, the opportunity to work aboard a Royal Navy ship has been an overwhelmingly positive experience.

“It’s been great thus far,” said Operations Specialist 1st Class (SW) Jason Perez. “You learn about how another navy operates and how you can speak a common operating language to work efficiently with our allies.”

One of the challenges for any embarked staff is to integrate their operations into the daily battle rhythm of their host ship. COMDESRON 24 staff members quickly formed a cohesive team with the officers and crew of Ark Royal.

“It has been a pretty seamless adjustment for the staff,” said Lt. Cmdr. Rodney Ferioli, the staff intelligence officer for COMDESRON 24. “Our operations are very tied together, and we have built solid relationships with our British counterparts.”

Sailors from both navies agree that an exercise like Joint Warrior is all about building partnerships.

“This is all about working better with our allies,” said Perez. “Our joint operations will result in better teamwork when we have to operate in a real-world environment.”

COMDESRON 24 is currently embarked aboard HMS Ark Royal and underway off the coast of Scotland in support of Joint Warrior. The participating multi-national force brings together 33 ships and military units from eight nations: the United Kingdom, United States, France, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and New Zealand.
Stephen Tate

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