Adm. Scott Swift speaks with the staff at Afloat Training Group Pacific on Naval Base San Diego, Sept. 14. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Trevor Welsh)

SAN DIEGO - Adm. Scott Swift, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, met with leaders at Afloat Training Group Pacific (ATGPAC), along with representatives from Afloat Training Group San Diego and Engineering Assessment Pacific, on Naval Base San Diego, Sept. 14.

Swift discussed opportunities to improve training and readiness across the Pacific Fleet and ATGPAC’s role in accelerating improvements, in the wake of the collisions involving USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).

“It was great to have face-to-face discussions on actions we can immediately take to improve the training and readiness of our forward-deployed crews and ships,” said Swift. “ATGPAC is central in making meaningful and lasting changes to how we meet our operational commitments safely and successfully.”

After visiting ATGPAC, Swift met with leadership from Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 15 to hear firsthand feedback from waterfront leaders, and to keep them informed about changes to their roles in certifying ships for operations including deployment.

“There is a real imperative to get at this. I’m counting on the collective and individual expertise this team provides. Putting the immediate measures in place now, while taking a deeper dive to get at the more systemic causes soon, will allow us to meet our critical missions more safely and effectively,” Swift said. “We will be leveraging the extensive experience of ATGPAC’s senior Sailors to help us improve unit-level readiness, and CSG 15 will help us ensure our forces are ready to integrate together for complex warfighting missions.”

Swift is looking for improvements to be made where there are immediate opportunities, including a second phase of the operational pause to focus first on the readiness of ships forward deployed to Japan, followed by all Pacific Fleet ships. The second phase will review ships’ readiness in a number of areas, including bridge resource management, decision-making, team work, and maritime “rules of the road.”

“I want to thank the admirals for coming down to the deckplates and letting us know we have their full support,” said Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) Sammy Larraquel from ATG San Diego. “I feel more empowered hearing they have our back and not to let anyone stop us from identifying issues during our assessments. It’s our job to go out there and train the fleet and then give them a critical grading and analysis on how they perform. Since day one here at ATG, that has been the philosophy: stay professional and uphold the standards of training and assessment."

ATGPAC was heavily involved with the first operational pause which was directed by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson Aug. 22. Afloat Training Group Western Pacific, part of ATGPAC, had their instructors lead a review of bridge resource management, communications, radar fundamentals, and case studies of maritime incidents for commanding officers, officers, chiefs, and watch standers on ships forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, during the pause.

ATGPAC provides dynamic, quality afloat training to Sailors to ensure a combat-ready force capable of performing a broad spectrum of maritime missions. It is committed to providing dynamic, quality afloat training, and continues to adapt to new challenges, ensuring the fleet is better prepared for any and all future operations.

ATGPAC, based in San Diego, provides assessment, training and certification in 18 mission areas to the ships of the Pacific Fleet, while providing oversight for subordinate ATG commands in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Everett, Wash.; and Yokosuka, Japan.