CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti -- Forces from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) finished a two-day Naval Surface Fire Support live fire and simulated aerial bombing support exercise Jan. 19 at Godoria Range in Djibouti's Northern Training Area.
About 50 personnel, representing all U.S. armed services, along with Coalition partners, called in naval gunfire from the destroyer USS Briscoe (DD 977) and controlled simulated aerial bombing runs from B-52 Stratofortress aircraft.
The goal of the training was for CJTF-HOA forces to coordinate aviation and maritime strike assets in a scenario-driven mission environment.
The exercise represents the first time CJTF-HOA has integrated both fixed-wing, air and sea-based assets in a live fire scenario.
The Spruance class, USS Briscoe, with its 5-inch, .54 caliber naval guns, provided fire support in both daylight and nighttime conditions, firing about 300 rounds during the exercise.
More than 20 U.S. Special Forces and Coalition personnel directed naval gunfire during 32 separate firing missions that included coordinating illumination of the target area for engagement with high explosive rounds and a 40-round massed fire destruction mission onto one target
Aircraft also engaged in both day and night training attacks, with B-52 runs simulating bombing attacks under the control of Special Forces forward air controllers.
In coordinating and controlling the exercise, CJTF-HOA forces also worked on communications issues by establishing a network that linked forces at Godoria Range with operations centers aboard USS Briscoe and USS Mount Whitney in the Gulf of Aden, pilots flying attack aircraft and the Ambouli Airport control tower in Djibouti.
Destroyers, equipped with a variety of missiles and torpedoes suited primarily for anti-submarine warfare missions, are also armed with Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Tomahawk land-attack missiles and 20mm Phalanx Close-in Weapons System Gatling guns.
The B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, heavy bomber capable of high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet. The airplane can carry approximately 70,000
pounds of ordnance, including bombs, mines and missiles.
B52s are also highly effective aircraft for ocean surveillance. Two B-52s, in two hours, can monitor 140,000 square miles of ocean surface.
The principal mission of CJTF-HOA is to detect, disrupt and defeat transnational terrorist groups in the Horn of Africa region and support Coalition partner efforts to deny the opportunity for reemergence of terrorist networks.
The CJTF headquarters was formed to oversee operations in the Horn of Africa for U.S. Central Command, in support of the Global War on Terrorism. The 400-member headquarters is embarked aboard one of the U.S. Navy's most sophisticated command and control ships, USS Mount Whitney, home-ported in Norfolk, Va.
CJTF-HOA also has nearly 900 personnel stationed ashore at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti and a small number of liaison personnel working in other parts of the region.