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Exercise Koa Kai Helps Navy Surface Combatants Achieve Full Deployment Readiness

Navy ships have begun the semiannual Koa Kai naval exercise, which includes integrated flight operations, anti-surface and anti-submarine training, and dynamic ship maneuvers in and around Hawaiian waters.

Koa Kai 12-2 is a maritime exercise to prepare ships that will be deploying independently – and  not as part of a carrier strike group – in multiple warfare areas in a multi-ship environment.

Two San Diego-based ships, the guided missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) and frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48), have joined Hawaii-based guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73); guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60); and guided-missile frigates USS Crommelin (FFG 37) and USS Reuben James (FFG 57).  The six combatants will be supported by the underway replenishment ship USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO-187).

The U.S. surface ships are joined by assets from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Helicopter Squadron Light 37, Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2, and the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron.

“Koa Kai provides an opportunity to exercise multiple warfare disciplines to ensure our ships are ready to deploy at a moment’s notice,” said Capt. Dave Welch, commander of Destroyer Squadron 31 (CDS 31). “Koa Kai is integrated, challenging, state-of-the-art training here in the middle Pacific that helps us achieve full deployment readiness.”


Capt. Edward H. Lundquist, U.S. Navy (Ret.) is a senior-level communications professional with more than...