PHILIPPINE SEA -- Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105), forward-deployed to Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, participated in Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) from March 13–27. SWATT provides the Fleet opportunities to complete advanced tactical exercises to increase lethality and tactical proficiency.
SWATT, led by Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC), starts with a weeklong in port academic phase followed by a two week at sea training phase. Exercise events include Air Defense, Anti-Submarine Warfare, Surface Warfare, Amphibious Warfare, and includes several live-fire exercises culminating with a live-fire with a purpose missile launch.
“Initially, we are looking for strong indicators the ship retained the tactical foundations provided during the basic phase,” said Capt. Jim Kenny, SMWDC’s senior mentor aboard during Forward Deployed Naval Forces Japan (FDNF-J) SWATT 2022. “The Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTIs) aboard the ships conduct over-the-shoulder focused training to fill any knowledge gaps before they get into the application of warfighting tactics.”
“SWATT is meant to challenge our warfighting readiness in order to ensure that we are ready for the high-end tactical fight, and if need be, execute our number one mission, which is to win in conflict,” said Capt. Walter Mainor, deputy commodore of Commander, Task Force (CTF) 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15. “Just like anything we do, you get out of it what you put into it, so we take this opportunity to sharpen our tactics, review our readiness, and make sure we are prepared.”
Kenny added there is no passing or failing grade for ships participating in the training, but SMWDC looks for indicators the ship retained tactical foundations, utilizing metrics gathered during SWATT to demonstrate changes in a ship’s day-to-day performance across events. At the conclusion of SWATT, the ship goes through a capstone event covering multiple warfare areas over a 24-hour period.
“Having the opportunity to be out here and have the time to do the dedicated training and the tactical maneuvering is value added,” said Mainor. “But most importantly is the Sailors. Having them absorb the information and learn, and having the chance to practice shooting the missile, shooting the guns – all of those things that sometimes we read about but maybe for whatever reason might not be able to perform. To have the Sailors be able to do that is value added beyond measure.”
While SWATT focuses on tactical watch stander proficiency – including tactical action officers, warfare coordinators, and warfare-centric watch stations, supporting the event involves every Sailor assigned to the ship.
“Dewey, from the commanding officer to the newest check-in, has been ‘all in’ on SWATT,” said Kenny. “I have personally witnessed the PBED [Planning, Brief, Execution, Debrief] process on a daily basis, and the crew has been extremely receptive to feedback from the WTIs and quick to implement lessons learned. I have been extremely impressed by the Dewey team and can clearly see why they were awarded the Battle Efficiency award this year.”
Cmdr. Jermaine Brooms, commanding officer of Dewey, said he was thankful for the opportunity and time to focus on this advanced tactical training to hone the crew’s skills as warfighters and mariners. “By executing the repetitious actions consistent with the SWATT process, my team stands ready to confidently engage the enemy in conflict if required to do such,” said Brooms. “My most junior watch-stander knows what right looks like because they are well practiced and can now contribute to overall safety of the ship by recognizing anomalies due to familiarity.”
Dewey is assigned to DESRON 15 and is underway supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific. CTF-71/DESRON 15 is the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surface force.