Sailors aboard USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) prepare to stow mooring lines as the ship gets underway, Feb. 1. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Ricardo R Guzman)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) departed Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, to participate in training exercises, Feb. 1.

The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyers will conduct joint-ship training exercises off the coast of Japan aimed to test their tactical surface warfare capabilities and improve interoperability.

"We're underway with Curtis Wilbur to conduct training between our ships to maintain proficiency," said Cmdr. Chase Sargent, John S. McCain's commanding officer. "Whenever we're not underway with a strategic mission, the goal is to make sure we sustain the training we've already received, and to improve on it and continue to train our watch standers so that we're ready in case we are called on for any mission."

Both ships will coordinate to conduct heavy engineering, casualty-control communication and system link drills.

"We will conduct several drills during this underway to ensure that our casualty response teams are operating at the highest level of skill possible," said Cmdr. Hans De For, Curtis Wilbur's commanding officer. "It's important for our Sailors to be able to react quickly and confidently in the event that a casualty was to occur. Underway is an invaluable time for us to ensure our Sailors receive the best training possible."

The forward-deployed destroyers will also conduct simulated ballistic-missile defense (BMD) exercises and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) tracking exercises.

"The BMD and ASW exercises will allow both our ships to remain sharp and proficient in that area of surface warfare," said Sargent. "These simulations give us real-life scenarios in order to take action in any case that a contingency may arise."