Monterey, The Sullivans, Boone Depart for Neptune Warrior in North Atlantic

USS MONTEREY, At sea – Guided missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) departs to participate in the multinational exercise Neptune Warrior with naval forces from the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmakr, Norway, Australia, France, and Spain this summer. The exercise will take place in the North Atlantic and will focus on joint coalition task force training. (DoD photo by Navy Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Steven P. Smith)

USS MONTEREY, At Sea - Three U.S. Navy ships left the east coast June 5 and 6 to participate with naval forces from the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Australia, France and Spain in Neptune Warrior, a coalition course held in the North Atlantic.

Capt. Robert Kapcio, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 24, and his staff are embarked aboard Norfolk-based cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) and will use this opportunity to evaluate the ship and crew in addition to Mayport-based destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) and frigate USS Boone (FFG 28), to certify each is ready for deployment later this year.

"We are looking forward to a complex course and the opportunity to train with other navies," said Lt. Cmdr. Rick Hughes, DESRON 24 operations officer. "We were very impressed with Neptune Warrior last February, and I believe that it produces great training situations that we don't normally encounter."

Neptune Warrior is normally held three times a year and is open to allied navies with assets available to participate. COMDESRON 24 participated in the same course in February.

Neptune Warrior is designed to improve interoperability between allied navies as well as to prepare the participants for a role in a Coalition Joint Task Force during upcoming deployments. The course also is the United Kingdom's advanced certification course and is on par with a U.S. Joint Task Force Exercise, which normally certifies U.S. ships.

Joint Maritime Operational Training Staff (JMOTS) Northwood in the United Kingdom is leading the current Neptune Warrior course.

Unlike many Navy exercises, the object of each Task Group will not be the simulated destruction of the other Task Group, but rather to act and interact in accordance with their simulated country's policies and rules of engagement. The exercise scenario was crafted to better approximate current real-world situations and is primarily why Neptune Warrior is considered a course rather than an exercise.

"We're there for learning," said Capt. Robert Oldani, USS Monterey's commanding officer. "Accomplishing the learning objectives is more important than actually winning the particular battle or event at hand.

"Aboard USS Monterey we are looking to maximize learning opportunities. There will be plenty of training opportunities from a watch team concept - working together and learning together - to individual watch station and warfare qualifications," added Oldani.

This month's Neptune Warrior course is expected to last ten days and will include more than 95 air, ground and sea assets.

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