John C. Stennis, Cassard Complete Joint Training

By MCS3 Jake Greenberg, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) P.A.  ─ 24 January 2019.

Arabian Gulf ─ (NNS) ─ The open ocean is a vast and sometimes unpredictable area in which the world’s navies operate. Maritime forces must often rely on helping hands from allies to complete missions.

The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and France’s Marine Nationale F70AA-class air defense destroyer FS Cassard (D 614) culminated weeks of interoperability training with a fueling-at-sea (FAS), Jan. 21.

“The Cassard was fully integrated into our strike group as a multi-warfare unit, focused on air defense,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Pia Chapman, USS Mobile Bay’s (CG 53) liaison officer embarked on the John C. Stennis. “[The Cassard] conducted operations as the alternate air and missile defense commander for the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group.”

The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group serves as Task Force (TF) 50 while operating in U.S. 5th Fleet, and Cassard was fully integrated into the command and control structure during the interoperability training.

Cross deck training, where Sailors from the John C. Stennis and the Cassard were flown to each other’s ships, took place over the course of the interaction.

“More than 20 personnel across all rates and ranks went from ship-to-ship to see and learn how their allied counterparts operated,” said Chapman.

Cassard also participated in exercise Intrepid Sentinel while operating with TF 50. Maritime forces from France, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States participated in the maritime warfare exercise in the Arabian Gulf, Jan. 15-17.

The U.S. Navy operating with its allies is not a new concept.

“Think back to both of the Desert Storm operations,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Murzban Morris, commodore of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21. “It’s never been a U.S.-only event. We can use this opportunity to do an exercise in an area of the world where we might have to operate again. We use joint exercises [like Intrepid Sentinel] to show that we can operate together at a moment’s notice, whether or not it is in a time of crisis.”

Beside personnel cross-training, French Panther helicopter conducted deck landing qualifications on the John C. Stennis’ flight deck.

“Our strong partnership is an essential asset for the maritime security in the Indian Ocean,” said French Maritime Nationale Capt. Mackara Ouk, commanding officer of the Cassard.

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