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NEWS | Aug. 11, 2022

A Peek behind the Curtain: USS Spruance (DDG 111) Tomahawk Strike Team

By Ensign Eva Knowles USS Spruance (DDG 111) Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - Rear Adm. J.T. Anderson, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3, awarded the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance’s (DDG 111) tomahawk strike team as the winners of Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group’s (ABECSG) deployment strike warfare competition, Aug 2, Thor’s Hammer 2022.

Tomahawk missiles are the U.S. Navy’s primary sea to land munition. Spruance’s maneuverability coupled with the tomahawk missile’s range allows U.S. Navy destroyers to eliminate targets undetected. This crucial mission set is entirely dependent on the Sailors who compose the strike warfare team.

“My team works together seamlessly,” said Lt. j.g. Joseph Gills, Strike Officer and leader of Spruance’s team. “They communicate effectively and react to issues with calm confidence.”

Throughout the scheduled deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility, the competition spanned over 35 mission scenarios in which each team received, planned and simulated launching missiles in a dynamic training environment. Scenarios tested each units’ level of knowledge and technical expertise while emphasizing the importance of team cohesion for efficient and effective mission planning.

Spruance’s team, composed of Fire Controlman 2nd Class Ashley Mora, Fire Controlman 2nd Class Christian Manalo, Fire Controlman 2nd Class Justyn DeAngelo, Fire Controlman 3rd Class Don Jones, Operation Specialist 2nd Class Hayli Mejia Diaz, Chief Fire Controlman Christina Bledsoe, and Lt. j.g. Joseph Gills came out on top with an average score of 96.79%.

“Each scenario is different, and we must perform perfectly on any day we are called upon to launch missiles,” said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Ashley Mora. “We continuously train to dynamic and new scenarios to maintain readiness and that we are prepared.”

Spruance competed against the USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS Momsen (DDG 92), USS Gridley (DDG 101) and the USS Sampson (DDG 102); winning with an average score of 96.79%. Momsen finished second with an average score of 96.10%. Beyond Thor’s Hammer, USS Spruance outperformed every other firing unit in 7th Fleet. Scoring an average of 98.05%, Spruance earned the top percentage out of all 27 firing units active in the 7th Fleet area of operations.

The Strike team on Spruance embodies all that Adm. Raymond Spruance, the ships namesake, stood for. A man of few word, he was known as a “Quiet Warrior” who decisively uttered the words “Launch the Attack” at a pivotal moment during the Battle of Midway. The strike team on Spruance follow in his footsteps: Quiet Warriors who Launch the (Tomahawk) Attack!

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