In July, the “Mad Foxes” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 5 participated in Teamwork South 2017 (TWS-17) off the coast of South America. The bi-annual naval exercise hosted by Chile, held extra significance this year due to the centennial anniversary of the establishment of the Chilean submarine force. TWS-17 proved to be an opportunity to strengthen U.S. Naval Forces’ relationship with its Chilean partners, and improve interoperability between two high caliber navies.
Before the exercise began, the Mad Foxes were treated to Fourth of July festivities aboard the USS Chafee (DDG 90). It was a welcome respite from the previous day’s intensive mission planning session.
“To have the chance to celebrate Independence Day aboard a U.S. DDG is certainly a memorable experience,” said Mission Commander Lt. Alex Lichtenfeld. “One made all the more special by being able to share it with our Chilean friends before beginning the flying portion of our trip.”
The next few days featured two high intensity anti-submarine warfare (ASW) events, which partnered U.S. and Chilean naval aircrafts and ships against several submarines. The complex nature of these exercises offered a high degree of training value, which was evident as the days progressed.
“Working with foreign navies gives me the chance to hone my ASW skills,” said AWO2 Christopher James. “I can watch how they operate and can usually adopt one of their techniques into my own.”
TWS-17 culminated on July 11 when VP-5’s Combat Air Crew (CAC) 12 participated in a live fire Sink Exercise (SINKEX). During this SINKEX, CAC-12 fired a live Harpoon missile at a decommissioned Chilean submarine tender. In true Mad Fox fashion, CAC-12 performed exceptionally well, firing one harpoon at the target scoring a direct hit. For their efforts the crew was rewarded with a Bravo Zulu (BZ) or a “well done” from Rear Adm. Sean Buck, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet.
TWS-17 was a resounding success, but one that was only the result of tireless planning and meticulous execution by both the U.S. and Chilean navies. The bonds strengthened during this year’s exercise have improved readiness and will support maritime security in the region for years to come.
Foto de portada referencial.