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NEWS | Jan. 30, 2023

USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) Completes Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training

By Petty Officer 1st Class Gregory Johnson Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron 15

YOKOSUKA, Japan -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) completed Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT), Jan. 25.

The 10-day exercise was designed to enhance warfighting capabilities, tactical proficiencies and abilities to integrate with a larger force through a series of tactical scenarios.

“SWATT provided a great opportunity to test our Sailors in realistic situations where they had to make tactical decisions and react to the situation at hand,” said Cmdr. Charles Cooper, Rafael Peralta’s commanding officer. “The Lava Dogs did a great job relying on their previous training and experience in theater to meet dynamic challenges. SWATT also gave us an opportunity to work with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, one of our strongest and closest allies in the region.”

Throughout the exercise, Rafael Peralta participated in a variety of warfighting scenarios while steaming with the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54), USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and USS Shiloh (CG 67), as well as the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Atago-class guided-missile destroyer JS Ashigara (DDG 178).

Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) embarked senior mentors and warfare tactics instructors (WTIs) to facilitate the scenarios, which were designed to provide Rafael Peralta Sailors an opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills across the surface warfare, air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and information warfare mission areas.

“SWATT presented a variety of engaging and realistic scenarios,” said Ensign Amanda Cervantes, from Chicago, Rafael Peralta’s ordnance officer. “It was good to have an opportunity to exercise in a tactical mindset while simulating real-world situations specific to this AOR (area of responsibility).”

Chief Fire Controlman Valentin Amboy, from Modesto, California, said Sailors were ready to meet every challenge they encountered throughout the exercise.

“SWATT was a prolific chance to show the naval might of USS Rafael Peralta and our accompanying allies,” said Amboy. “Our teams put on an amazing display of firepower from fo’c’sle to fantail.”

According to Gunner’s Mate Seaman Abigalia Ralph, from Nashville, Tennessee, who was assigned to the ship’s crew-served weapons team during the exercise, SWATT was instrumental to the professional development of many of the ship’s junior Sailors.

“It helped me because I’ve been here for two weeks and was put in a situation where I had to help defend the ship,” said Ralph. “Anyone can find themselves in that situation, and it’s vital to the ship to be able to perform when the pressure is on. The exercise scenarios were beneficial because they helped get us more familiar with the weapons systems, and in turn, that will help us to react faster and more effectively in a real-world situation.”

SWATT is conducted under the guidance of SMWDC and is the U.S. Navy surface force’s premiere advanced tactical training exercise, increasing warfighting capability and tactical proficiency across all domains.

Rafael Peralta is assigned to Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surface force.

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