PACIFIC OCEAN - The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) swapped 10 crew members with Royal Australian Navy (RAN) guided-missile frigate HMAS Sydney (FFG 03), in support of Pacific Bond 2013, June 23 to enhance operability and foster camaraderie between the two ships.
Cross-decking, temporarily exchanging crew members at sea, provides an opportunity for Sailors to get exposure to different platforms, examine how they operate, and expand their professional experience.
Each participant spent the day touring the ship and meeting the crew with an emphasis on the command and control stations responsible for conducting underway operations, especially those that play a heavy role in events during Pacific Bond.
"[The visit] gave us a good look at how our allies operate at sea," said Lt.j.g. Beth Reed, Chung-Hoon's Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) officer, embarked on Sydney. "It helped us to better understand each other when operating in a tactical environment and gave us a look into the culture of the Australian navy."
RAN Leading Seaman Electronic Warfare Jess Smith, one of the Australian Sailors that toured Chung-Hoon, was able to meet U.S. Navy counterparts involved in the electronic warfare community. After spending time with watchstanders in the combat information center on board Chung-Hoon, Smith marveled at the similarities between the two ships.
"We basically have the same job, use the same equipment, and use the same techniques," said Smith.
USS Chung-Hoon's Strike Warfare Officer, Ensign Augustus Karisch, also gained further insight into the importance of interoperability while embarked aboard HMAS Sydney.
"We are practicing ways to work together to achieve the same objectives," said Karisch. "We aren't just working with other ships. We are working with people inside those ships too."
The exchange revealed similarities not only in professional duties of each person, but the seemingly universal challenges and triumphs of life at sea.
RAN Able Seaman Maritime Logistics Steward Angela Stephenson found that many of her concerns on deployment are no different from those of Sailors aboard Chung-Hoon.
"It's funny," said Stephenson. "Eventually you stop talking about the ship and start talking about how much you miss your family and friends back home."
Pacific Bond 2013 is a multi-national naval exercise designed to advance participating nations' military-to-military coordination and capacity to plan and execute tactical operations in a multi-warfare environment.
Participants in Pacific Bond 2013 include the guided-missile destroyers USS Preble (DDG 88) and USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93); members of the forward deployed Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15; P-3C aircraft from Commander, Task Force 72; one submarine from Commander, Task Force 74; helicopters and personnel from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 and personnel from Naval Special Warfare Unit (NSWU) 1 joined forces with Royal Australian Navy guided-missile frigate HMAS Sydney (FFG 03) and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship, JS Murasame (DD 101).