Before deploying, the crews are evaluated by Tactical
Training Group Atlantic and certified for deployment to
Europe by U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Following a
recent certification, watch team White 3 arrived in
Romania to relieve watch team Red 3 in early February.
“We’re working side by side with industry partners —
Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and BAE Systems, to name a
few — and with Navy counterparts at Naval Surface
Warfare Centers, SPAWAR [Space and Naval Warfare
Systems Command], and NAVSSES [Naval Ship Systems
Engineering Station] conducting weapon system and C4I
[command, control, computers, communications and
intelligence] system installation,” Carlson said. “Those
partnerships continue after Navy acceptance of the sys-
tem from MDA and operations begin in earnest.”
Wolstenholme said the four Rota, Spain-based
Forward Deployed Naval Forces BMD ships and Aegis
Ashore together are developing a high level of expertise.
“We’ve built a cadre of BMD experts,” he said.
“The technology is impressive, but like anything in
the U.S. Navy, Sailors are the true heart of the mission,”
Operations Specialist 2nd Class Tura Hudson is the
most junior Sailor assigned to Aegis Ashore, but she
maintains the link picture all the way up into the
“I love doing this,” Hudson said. “I enjoy sitting at
this console, and bringing up the picture, and talking
to everyone else out there in the fleet. If there’s a
launch, I’ll see it. And we’ll kill it.”
Hudson does not have previous Aegis experience.
“I was on an amphib, the Mesa Verde. This is my first
BMD assignment, so coming here I had to learn something brand new. The training was very detail-oriented
and intense,” she said.
Hudson said her friends back home in Philadelphia
don’t know how important her job is.
“I don’t talk about what I do. I just tell them I look
at radar screens,” she said.
“It’s my job to use this radar to initially detect a bal-
listic missile and track it, whether we pass it off or take
the shot,” said Fire Controlman 1st Class Christopher
Mays, the 2015 AAMDS Sailor of the Year. “I’ve been a
SPY tech for about 18 years, and I’ve been on six ships.
But coming here, I’ve learned so much. It’s been a great
experience, and I’m furthering my knowledge. The
best part is the new equipment. This is the cutting edge
— the best we have to offer.”
The cutting edge is partly what draws Sailors to sign
up for duty in Romania. But the leadership is clear that
technology is only a part of the capability.
“Aegis Ashore is no different in this regard from other
advanced Navy weapon systems: the true warfighting
capability comes from our Sailors,” Carlson said. “‘Men
mean more than guns in the rating of a ship,’ [to quote
John Paul Jones] and at Aegis Ashore, our exoatmospher-
ic warriors bring more capability than just what the
weapon system provides.”
Carlson’s crews are excited to be a part of something
new, and having the very latest equipment. He likens
the journey from the concept of Aegis Ashore to reality
at Deveselu to the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery
“They knew where they were going, but they
weren’t exactly sure how they were going to get there.
We are pioneering in the same sense, and we have to
get it right,” Carlson said. “We have to keep people
engaged for a mission we don’t want to do, but if we do
wrong could mean so much. Our allies and partners
need this capability, and the Navy’s proven system and
talented cadre of missile defenders can deliver.”
According to Col. Razvan Bratulescu, commander
of the Romanian 99th Military Base, working together
have been challenging and rewarding at the same time.
“This has been a sharing of experience, the opportunity to learn from each other to understand the similarities
and the differences between our cultures,” he said. ;
Edward Lundquist, a retired U.S. Navy captain, travelled to
Northwood, U.K.; Naples, Italy; and Deveselu, Romania, to
report this story.
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016
Dr. Uliana Gancea, assistant professor at the Defense Lan-
guage Institute Foreign Language Center, shows Sailors var-
ious areas of Romania and discusses the cultural differ-
ences within the country during a March 4, 2015, class in
Virginia Beach, Va. Sailors from the Aegis Ashore Missile De-
fense System were learning Romanian to help prepare for
their deployment to Deveselu, Romania.