MANAMA, BAHRAIN, Oct. 22, 2020 —
Bahrain based mine countermeasures ship USS Gladiator (MCM 11) assigned to U.S. 5th Fleet, Task Force (CTF) 52, recently completed a multi-day Mine Countermeasure (MCM) Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) exercise with embarked mine warfare trainers on Oct. 9.
SWATT is the surface forces premiere advanced tactical training exercise designed to increase combat capability, lethality and interoperability of the surface force across all domains.
Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) leads SWATT events for carrier strike group cruiser destroyers (CRUDES), amphibious ready groups (ARGs), littoral combat ships (LCS) and MCMs. SMWDC’s Commander is also the Navy’s Global Mine Warfare Commander, equipped with a Mine Warfare (MIW) Battle Staff, enhancing a critical capability for the Navy that provides for safe transit of commercial, U.S., and coalition ships.
During SWATT exercises, experienced, expert trainers lead afloat staffs and shipboard teams through training events designed to increase the competency and confidence of individuals and ships watch teams. MCM SWATT is a 10-day event and provides dedicated in-port and at-sea training for MCM ships. During the in-port phase for Gladiator’s SWATT, senior mentors and trainers helped crews conduct a comprehensive review of MIW related administration as well as pre-operational equipment checks. During the at-sea phase, crews received over-the-shoulder mentoring from experts while conducting mine sweeping, mine hunting, and mine neutralization operations against training mines in the Arabian Gulf.
The team of trainers that embarked Gladiator for the exercise included Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Easton, an MIW Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI), and five senior enlisted MIW subject matter experts.
“SMWDC does not come out to the units to grade them on their homework,” said Easton. “We are out here to develop a culture of learning and critical thinking within the shipboard team. This involves the recognition of problems, and getting after solutions by fostering a setting that encourages open, honest, and humble dialogue between teammates.”
Gladiator’s crew received training on proper log keeping and procedural compliance, and appreciated that the training was delivered in an informative, actionable and simple way rather than just highlighting negative performance.
"I was very impressed with the training we received from SMWDC," said Mineman Third Class Jonathan Dollinger. “The training was insightful regarding sonar tactics and they were very supportive during operations.”
SMWDC is a subordinate command of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. SMWDC is located in California and Virginia, and is focused on MIW, integrated air and missile defense, anti-submarine warfare/surface warfare, and amphibious warfare.