Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mitscher Departs for Training Exercises

By Mass Communication Specialist Deven B. King, USS Mitscher Public Affairs

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- USS Mitscher (DDG 57) departed its homeport of Norfolk, Va., Jan. 19, as part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group.

The crew of Mitscher, more than 250 Sailors, is participating in a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) and Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) to prepare for an upcoming deployment with the strike group.

"We're in our advanced stages of training," said Command Master Chief (SW) William Mullinax, USS Mitscher Command Master Chief. "This is to flex the crew and the ship to ensure we're ready to go in harm's way if need be."

Mitscher will serve many roles within the strike group, including anti-submarine warfare, carrier defense, maritime security operations, and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations.

"Mitscher's not only the jack-of-all-trades, but she's the master of them as well," said Lt. Cmdr. Jason Wilson, combat systems officer. "Name a mission and we'll be there to execute it safely and professionally."

During their first 48 hours underway, the crew conducted a VBSS exercise and a force protection exercise designed to simulate an attack on the ship by small craft.

"It's training that has added value to Sailors," said Mullinax.

"Over the next month we'll fine-tune the skills we need to fine-tune a little more, tighten up those last few things we need tightened up, and we'll be ready to roll," Wilson said.

"The crew is ready for the COMPTUEX and JTFEX, and I think they'll meet every situation pressed upon them to the best of their ability," Mullinax said. "There are probably going to be things which will stump us a bit, but we have the right people in place, the right leadership and the right Sailors."

USS Mitscher is scheduled to deploy with the strike group in the spring.