News: Donald Cook’s final underway in Norfolk, Va.
Story by Lt. Desiree Frame
AT SEA Sea – Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) executed her final underway in Norfolk, Va., Jan. 13 – 17, to prepare for her move to Naval Station Rota, Spain.
“I think this was a good opportunity,” said Cmdr. Scott A. Jones, commanding officer, Donald Cook. “We hadn’t been underway for a little over a month. This is an opportunity to come out here and make sure the systems still work.”
During the underway, the crew conducted multiple drills and exercises, to include: engineering drills, a general quarters drill and a weapons test to keep the crew trained and ready.
“I’ve got quite a few new sailors onboard,” said Jones. “[It was a good opportunity] to get them acclimated to what it means for a ship to be underway and operational.”
The engineering drills taught many of the junior watch standers the proper courses of action to take in the event of a fire, flood or other mishap.
“I felt they trained the watch standers to the best of their ability,” said Lt. Craig Boone, the main propulsion assistant.“
The watch standers that we had on deck were all UIs, so they were all Under Instruction. For [them] it was all training. They got the best out of it [and] they asked a lot of questions. I think it was beneficial.”
During the general quarters drill, fire teams, comprised of many new team members, donned Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses, appropriately reported abnormalities and searched for and extinguished simulated fires throughout the ship.
“It was a good drill,” said Damage Controlman 2nd Class Paul Divers. “There’s no such thing as a bad drill. As long as somebody learns something it’s a good drill”
The MK-45 5-inch gun, and MK-38 machine gun were tested during a weapons exercise to keep the combat information center and bridge watch teams proficient and ready.
“[The] 25 mm chain guns are critical in defending the ship against a small-boat attack,” said Weapons Officer Lt. Jeffrey Frost.“ The MK-38 Mod 2 is better than the Mod 1 [in that] it’s gyro-stabilized, we can shoot it at night or during the day and hit targets at much greater range.”
Frost said that the MK-45-5-inch gun was tested for data collection and that the data will be analyzed on shore.
“It was a good underway,” said Divers. “[We] broke off some rust from being in the yards [and we got] a lot of new personnel qualified and [got] their feet wet.”
Donald Cook and her crew are scheduled to forward-deploy to NAVSTA Rota, Spain in support of President Obama’s European Phase Adaptive Approach, later this month.
”We’re looking forward to it,” said Jones. “It’s something different and new. It’s our mission [and] we are going to execute [it] to the best of out ability.”