Ships steam in formation during a previous Multi-Sail exercise in the Pacific. (U.S. Navy/OS2 Chin Ng)

PHILIPPINE SEA - Ships assigned as forward deployed naval forces (FDNF) in Japan began the annual exercise Multi-Sail 14, March 21.

Multi-Sail 14 is a five-day Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 led exercise that offers participating ships the opportunity to train in the primary mission areas of surface, air, strike, and anti-submarine warfare.

"Multi-Sail gives us the opportunity to bring DESRON 15 ships together with our aviation squadrons to operate in a multi-warfare setting," said Capt. Paul Lyons, commander of DESRON 15. "This exercise will allow us to test our systems from end to end, challenge our Sailors, and validate our tactics, techniques, and procedures."

Some of the major training evolutions include firing Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine (VLA) Rockets, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) missiles as well as testing of the ships' Close In Weapons System (CIWS) and Mk. 45 5-inch gun during live-fire exercises. In addition, the exercise will allow for interaction with a U.S. submarine and coordination with aircraft in order to continue to hone anti-submarine warfare skills.

"These events really come down to teamwork," said Lyons. "Rarely do we get an opportunity to come together as a team in a multi-ship training environment and give DESRON 15 ships a chance to flex the array of warfighting systems inherent to an Arleigh Burke-DDG."

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) is serving as the command flagship for the exercise with DESRON 15 staff embarked. Other ships from DESRON 15 participating include USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Lassen (DDG 82) and USS Mustin (DDG 89). Also supporting the exercise are USS Shiloh (CG 67), USS Cowpens (CG 63), USNS John Ericsson (T-AO 194) and USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9).