USS Benfold (DDG 65) conducted a tour for the Surface Navy Association (SNA) Bahrain Chapter, July 24 highlighting the Navy's ability to search, track, hand-off and intercept ballistic missiles—a core element of our Navy's Ballistic Missile Defense program (BMD).
"BMD presents a great opportunity for the surface community to contribute to National Security," said Benfold's Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Tom Disy. "The time is now for us to further develop and refine the tactics, techniques and procedures necessary to operationalize this fantastic capability."
Benfold's Fire Control Officer, Lt.j.g. Maggie White gave a presentation and guided tour to numerous SNA members, along with U.S. Army Patriot Battalion personnel.
"We're at the forefront of BMD technology and capability," she said. "It's an exciting time to be in the Navy and a member of Benfold."
Following the tour, SNA members, as well as members of the Benfold wardroom, attended a BMD briefing given to Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
"It was great being exposed to the information that someone like Vice Adm. Gortney receives," said Ensign Mark Belanger, Benfold's strike officer. "This is a perspective a young junior officer does not always get to see."
Benfold recently participated in an inter-theatre ballistic missile exercise with USS Russell (DDG 59). Russell, operating in the eastern Mediterranean, and Benfold, operating in the northern Persian Gulf, exhibited simultaneous presence of Aegis ballistic missile defense in the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf. During the exercise, the ships worked with one another to engage and diffuse a simulated ballistic missile threat by sharing data to track, engage and intercept the threat.
Benfold is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO) as part of the USS Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group and is homeported in San Diego.
MSO help develop security in the maritime environment, which promotes stability and global prosperity. These operations complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.