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USS Wichita, Jamaica's HMJS Cornwall conduct live-fire exercise

The USS Wichita and Jamaica's offshore patrol vessel HMJS Cornwall conducted a live fire exercise in the Caribbean Sea Friday. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy
The USS Wichita and Jamaica's offshore patrol vessel HMJS Cornwall conducted a live fire exercise in the Caribbean Sea Friday. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

April 13 (UPI) -- The USS Wichita conducted a live fire exercise with the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard offshore patrol vessel HMJS Cornwall in the Caribbean Sea last week.

According to a Navy press release, gunners from both ships shot hundreds of rounds at a floating training target nicknamed the "killer tomato."

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"We enjoyed shooting at the killer tomato," Chief Gunner's Mate Daniel Gibbs, Wichita's gunnery liaison officer for the exercise, said in the release. "Conducting live-fire exercises is what keeps us sharp and ready."

The Wichita launched the embarked helicopter from the "Sea Knights" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22 Detachment 8 before the gunnery exercise to conduct firing range clearance and act as a safety observer as Wichita and Cornwall rendezvoused.

This was Cornwall's first live-fire exercise but its second interoperability exercise with a U.S. Navy warship this year, according to the Navy.

In February, Cornwall participated in a passing exercise with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams.

"Conducting multi-national gunnery exercises requires precision communication and teamwork," Cmdr. Daniel Reiher, USS Wichita Commanding Officer, said in the Navy's release. "Cornwall's team are superb mariners and we look forward to continued operations and more complex exercises with the Jamaican Coast Guard in the future."

The USS Wichita, the branch's 13th littoral combat ship, was commissioned in 2019 to operate in near-shore and open-ocean situations.

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