USS Sampson (DDG 102), left, JS Atago (DDG 177), center, and USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) maneuver into position for a missile exercise March 24 during Multi-Sail. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Raymond D. Diaz III)

APRA HARBOR, Guam - Personnel and ships from Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and U.S. Navy Forward Deployed Naval Forces from Japan led by Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 kicked off Multi-Sail 2015, March 22, in Guam.

Multi-Sail is an annual DESRON 15 led exercise that is designed to assess combat systems, improve teamwork and increase warfighting capabilities in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

"Multi-Sail brings ships, submarines, and aircraft together to focus on core warfighting requirements," said Capt. Shan Byrne, commander of DESRON 15. "This exercise allows us to test our systems from end to end, challenge our Sailors, and validate our bilateral tactics, techniques, and procedures. Uniquely this year, our Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force allies will join us to practice intermediate and advanced warfighting skills."

Following a pre-sail conference, ships departed Guam, March 23, to conduct the at-sea portion of Multi-Sail 2015. Several ships participated in a torpedo exercise including the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54).

"We did an excellent job getting the torpedo out of the tube and right on target," said Cmdr. Hans De For, commanding officer of Curtis Wilbur. "The crew rehearsed and prepared for this with our brand new A(V)15 SONAR system. Their hard work, determination and repetitious practice showed."

Throughout Multi-Sail 2015 some other major training evolutions include firing vertical launch anti-submarine (VLA) rockets, standard missile (SM) 2 missiles as well as testing the ship's close-in weapons system (CIWS) and Mark 45 5-inch gun during live-fire exercises. Additionally, the exercise will allow for interaction with a U.S. submarine and coordination with aircraft in order to continue to hone anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare skills.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) is serving as the command flagship for Multi-Sail 2015 with DESRON-15 staff embarked. Other ships from DESRON-15 participating include USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS Sampson (DDG 102) and USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112). Also supporting the exercise are the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), the Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler USNS Pecos (T-AO 197) and the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Amelia Earhart (T-AKE 6), Commander, Task Force 72, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77, HSM-51, HSM-35, HSM-37, and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25.