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Submariners Experience Anti-Submarine Operations from the Air

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More than a dozen submariners from USS San Francisco (SSN 711) and USS Topeka (SSN 754) participated in familiarization flights in P-3C Orion aircraft during anti-submarine warfare missions Oct.7-10 to learn how submarines are tracked from another perspective.

The training, made possible by the East Pacific Integrated Training Syndicate (EPITS), allowed the submariners and aircraft personnel to exchange information about how their operations are conducted.

"I was up in the cockpit area when we spotted a feather, which is where the waves come off the mast, and it was a Chilean sub," said Electronic Technician 3rd Class Joseph Moore, assigned to San Francisco. "We flew right over the top of it and it was really cool. I was surprised at how fast they spotted it."

The purpose of the training exercise was to provide exposure to the Sailors on the capabilities and tactical operations of the anti-submarine aircraft. The submariners can take this information back to their command to increase their effectiveness on remaining undetected.

"We hope to schedule further training flights the next time a P-3 detachment comes to NAS North Island to allow personnel from the other four submarines in Submarine Squadron 11 to participate in similar training," said Lt. Seth Cairo, assigned to Submarine Squadron 11. "Additionally, we are looking to get personnel from the surface and aviation communities underway on a submarine for further cross-deck training."

There are currently no P-3 aircraft permanently assigned to the San Diego area, and according to Cairo the training was very difficult to arrange. Previously, this training had been conducted, and was well-received, in Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest.

"This was the first time in my Navy career that an opportunity like this has become available to me," said Chief Electronic Technician Kevin Moore, assigned to San Francisco. "Overall, throughout the experience, I was quickly informed of the various tactics and capabilities P-3s have and how I can utilize that to bring to my command on a submarine, the possibility of preventing counter detection."

The Sailors who were selected went in the air for a minimum of eight hours over the Columbus Day weekend. They monitored the area for submarine intrusion.

"This was an amazing training opportunity that leveraged existing flight operations to provide a high-value experience with no added cost to the Navy," Cairo said.