Task Force 55 Conducts GUNNEX

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin J. Steinberg | September 22, 2018


Ships from Task Force (TF) 55 conducted a gunnery exercise (GUNNEX) in the Arabian Gulf, Sept. 19.


Participants included guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) and coastal patrol ships USS Hurricane (PC 3), USS Monsoon (PC 4), USS Sirocco (PC 6) and USS Firebolt (PC 10).


Throughout the exercise, The Sullivans and the coastal patrol ships fired shipboard weapons at two high-speed maneuvering targets. Weapons employed included the Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), .50-caliber machine guns, and the MK-38 (Mod 2) 25mm machine gun system.


“It was great practice for us to shoot a moving target,” said Culinary Specialist Seaman Tayler Peter, a .50-caliber machine gun operator aboard The Sullivans. “The tough part was that the target was at a farther range than what we have practiced with before. I’m more prepared after having done this exercise.”


The exercise provided Sailors the opportunity to hone their skills on weaponry in a combination of agility, strength and resolve—all key qualities that enable the U.S. 5th Fleet and its partners to maintain stability and freedom of navigation across the region.


“The goal of the Griffin Missile and live fire gunnery exercises this week was two-fold,” said Captain Adan Cruz, Commander of Task Force 55. “To provide a training opportunity for our Sailors operating the weapons systems, and to demonstrate the multi-layered defense capabilities of U.S. patrol ships in the Arabian Gulf. Our PCs continue to play a crucial role in maintaining security and stability in the Gulf Region.”


The Sullivans provided command and control for the four Cyclone-class patrol ships throughout the gunnery exercise and the Griffin Missile exercise conducted earlier this week.


“We have operated several times with the PCs here in 5th Fleet,” said Commander Russ Moore, commanding officer of The Sullivans. “They are maneuverable, flexible, and extremely proficient in navigation and warfighting.”


U.S. 5th Fleet and coalition assets participated in numerous exercises as part of the greater Theater Counter Mine and Maritime Security Exercise to ensure maritime stability and security in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.