ARABIAN GULF, Dec. 21, 2020 —
The guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) participated in the bilateral joint and combined air operations in support of maritime surface warfare (AOMSW) exercise with Royal Saudi Armed Forces in the Arabian Gulf, Dec. 17-18.
This exercise was in support of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and U.S. Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT), and marks the fifth joint and combined integration operation between U.S. naval and air forces this year.
“AOMSW is a much needed joint skill set that maritime forces will rely on if called to execute contingency operations,” said Lt. Cmdr. Charles Fuehrer, plans and tactics officer aboard Winston S. Churchill. “Regular training with joint and coalition forces toward this unique mission set will enable success in future operations.”
The U.S. Navy routinely integrates surface and aviation units to train and enhance coalition forces. Previous exercises incorporated the U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunships, U.S. Army attack helicopters and aircraft from the United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command.
“Interoperability exercises with U.S. Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and regional partners that build and refine joint air and maritime defenses are essential to our ability to counter dynamic maritime threats in the region,” said Lt. Tristan Skinner, supply officer and sea combat commander aboard Winston S. Churchill. “With each iteration of executing AOMSW, we continue to improve our defensive maritime capabilities.”
Winston S. Churchill operated with U.S. Navy patrol coastal ships USS Squall (PC 7), USS Firebolt (PC 10), Coast Guard patrol boats USCGC Monomoy (WPB 1326), USCGC Maui (WPB 1304), USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332), Royal Saudi Naval Force corvette HMS Badr (612), Royal Saudi Air Force F-15SA fighter jets, U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets, a U.S. Navy MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter, a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft and U.S. Air Force E-3 Sentry aircraft.
“As an anti-submarine tactical air controller aboard a guided-missile destroyer, it is rare to control this many aircraft,” said Operations Specialist 1st Class Tyree Morgan, assigned to Winston S. Churchill. “Exercises like these enhance my skills for future maritime operations.”
Winston S. Churchill departed Norfolk, Va., Aug. 10 for a regularly-scheduled deployment to maintain maritime security and ensure the freedom of navigation in critical waterways.