USS SHOUP supports NORAD in Amalgam Dart air defense exercise

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | July 06, 2009

USS SHOUP, At Sea -- Guided missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) wrapped up participation in joint air and space exercise, Amalgam Dart, June 23. 

Amalgam Dart is part of North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command’s (USNORTHCOM) Ardent Sentry '09 exercise series.  

Taking place off the coast of Oregon, Shoup played a major role in Amalgam Dart by protecting U.S. air sovereignty through airspace surveillance and control.

Cmdr. Michael Lehman, Shoup’s commanding officer, said taking part in this exercise provided an exceptional opportunity for his crew.

“Shoup does not often get the opportunity to participate in joint exercises like Amalgam Dart, so this was a valuable experience for my Sailors,” Lehman said, adding, “Working with the Army liaisons was very productive, and we gained important lessons learned for future exercises and real-world homeland defense scenarios.”

Shoup was integrated into the exercise from the Air and Space Operations Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., where the Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONR) commander and his staff directed Air Force and Army assets and coordinated with the Maritime Component Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, in employing Navy assets.

Shoup detected and tracked unknown air contacts with its advanced AEGIS weapons system, while the Western Air Defense Sector, based at McChord Air Force Base, Wash., detected, identified, tracked and scrambled fighters to intercept threatening airborne objects. 

Simultaneously, the U.S. Air Force's 552nd Air Control Wing E-3 Sentry provided all-weather surveillance, command, control and communications needed by air defense forces over secure data and voice networks provided by Rhode Island Air National Guard's (ANG) 282nd and Georgia ANG's 283rd Combat Communications Squadron.

Army Maj. Scott Joslin, on board the Shoup for the duration of the exercise, expressed a new appreciation for Navy capabilities and the joint aspect of homeland defense.

"Being out on the ocean with a Navy ship is a unique experience for an Army officer, and we hope to incorporate the Navy in future homeland defense exercises," Joslin said.

These coordinated joint efforts ensured the air sovereignty and air defense of the continental United States, which met the goal of the exercise to demonstrate a rapidly deployable air defense system that could protect high profile national targets against cruise missiles and other low-flying threats.

“Exercise Amalgam Dart '09 provides the opportunity to train for potential scenarios that could affect the Continental U.S.,” said Maj. Gen. Hank Morrow, CONR commander. 

"Exercises like this allow us to review processes and procedures and focus our future training efforts to identifying areas that may need attention," Morrow said.

 Shoup’s Combat Information Center Officer, Chief Warrant Officer (CWO3) Bill Morgan said Amalgam Dart was a great training opportunity, especially for his watchstanders.

“This exercise allowed us to practice our air control and engagement skills in a Real World Environment, so we will be better prepared for operations with the Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group,” Morgan said.

For additional information on Amalgam Dart 09, contact Mr. Al Eakle, CONR Public Affairs, at (850) 283-8080 or via email at allen.eakle@tyndall.af.mil.