Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Sentry (MCM 3) assigned to Naval Surface Squadron Five (CNSS) 5 completed a Mine Warfare (MIW) Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) exercise with embarked mine warfare trainers May 12-22. CNSS 5 is forward deployed to Manama, Bahrain, in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
“I’m privileged to a be a part of a talented team of experienced professionals that is increasing the level of readiness and capability available to the Fleet Commander,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jermaine Brooms, the senior mentor for the exercise from Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center’s (SMWDC) Sea Combat Division and former MCM Commanding Officer.
SMWDC leads MIW SWATTs and provides advanced tactical training to the Surface Fleet through MIW, Cruiser-Destroyer (CRUDES), Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) SWATTs and other training exercises. Commander, SMWDC is also the Navy’s Global Mine Warfare Commander equipped with a MIW Battle Staff, enhancing a critical capability for the Navy, which 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 confidences of individuals and teams. MIW SWATTs vary in length and provide dedicated in-port and at sea training for mine countermeasure ships. During the in-port phase for Sentry’s SWATT, senior mentors and trainers support crews with a comprehensive review of MIW related administration to include watchbills, personnel qualifications, training processes, and pre-operational equipment checks. During the at-sea phase, crews received over-the-shoulder mentoring from experts while conducting mine hunting and mine sweeping operations.
The team of trainers that embarked aboard Sentry for the exercise included a former MCM commanding officer and five senior enlisted MIW subject matter experts, including the Navy’s newest Master Chief Mineman, Master Chief Petty Officer Favian Garcia.
“The value of this exercise is that we’re not out here grading the Sailors’ homework and heading home,” said Garcia. “Our goal is to help 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 an open, honest, and humble dialogue between teammates. I believe it’s the best way to do business in a complex warfighting environment.”