The U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) completed the three-week Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) April 12, 2018 while at sea.
FOST is based out of Devonport, United Kingdom and delivers operational training across all disciplines for the Royal Navy and other allied navies that wish to make use of its services.
“FOST has been a very rewarding experience for the Sailors aboard Ross,” said Cmdr. Bryan S. Gallo, Ross’ commanding officer. “The crew received expert training from damage control to supply support, and I saw incredible improvements across the board. I am very pleased with how the ship’s crew handled themselves during this intense three-week training evolution. Our success and improvement was truly an all-hands effort.”
During FOST, Ross Sailors were placed through multiple training team environments to include combat scenarios, flight operations, seamanship training scenarios, gunnery exercises, damage control training, engineering training and a “weekly war” environment.
In the weekly war environment, the ship was placed in a seven-hour, simulated general quarters environment following a storyline of shipboard attacks from enemy forces. Sailors had to react while being assessed by the U.K. Royal Navy FOST and the U.S. Navy’s Afloat Training Group experts.
“This is actually the second time I’ve been through FOST,” said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Jacob Fritzler. “The first time I had literally only arrived on board the week before. I knew less than nothing. This time around, it’s been fun and challenging to see how much I’ve learned since then as well as receive more advanced training.”
FOST offers tailored training to meet the specific national requirements of many other navies, air forces and elements of land forces. The syllabus is framed around NATO doctrine and is aimed at instilling Royal Navy standards into foreign militaries. It draws upon many of the hard lessons learned by the Royal Navy during the Falklands War and beyond.
FOST’s training prepares all types of surface warships, submarines and auxiliaries for peacetime, peace-support and war-fighting operations. Starting with basic alongside preparatory safety and readiness training, units progress through single threat and multi-threat scenarios to advanced tactical training at task group level.
During the three-week training, Ross was visited by the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in London, Lewis Alan Lukens, who met with Gallo as well as members of the ship’s crew.
Lukens was accompanied by a U.S. Embassy film crew shooting a documentary designed to showcase the “behind the scenes” work of the Embassy across a wide range of issues, according to a release by Flag Officer Sea Training (South).
FOST was anything but all work and no relaxation, as Ross Sailors had a chance to explore Plymouth, England, March 31-April 1 and April 6-7, allowing Sailors to recover from a difficult week of drilling while experiencing the local attractions.
On the last day of FOST, Rear Admiral Jesse A. Wilson Jr. visited the ship to watch the final “weekly war,” where the ship was placed in a complex warfighting scenario that incorporated the lessons of the previous weeks. Every level of Ross’s warfighting organization was put to the test by the day’s end. The commanding officer of FOST, Captain Matt Smith, RN, spoke to the crew over the 1MC as the ship pulled back into Plymouth: “the ship has been very receptive to the training that we have provided, and the FOST inspectors greatly appreciated the unwavering enthusiasm throughout the exercise. It was a pleasure to train you all.”
Ross will now prepare for participation in Joint Warrior 2018-1, a 15-nation international training exercise in which allies and partners will be able to improve interoperability and prepare forces for combined operations.
“A ship is never quite finished learning and training,” said Gallo. “Joint Warrior is an excellent opportunity to put the training we received during FOST to immediate use in a joint environment with several other allied navies.”
Ross, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations with allies and partners in order to advance security and stability in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
MC1 Kyle Steckler