Wednesday, February 23, 2011

USS Monterey Returns to Homeport After Completing JTFEX

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sandi Grimnes, USS Monterey (CG 61) Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Feb. 21, after completing Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) with the George H. W. Bush Strike Group.

"JTFEX provides training from the Strike Group Staff down to the individual ship," said Monterey Commanding Officer Capt. James W. Kilby. "It is scenario-driven and provided an opportunity for Staffs and ships to see events unfold more like they might as when they are deployed."

JTFEX is designed to test the Strike Group and coalition forces' ability to operate in a hostile environment in preparation for a combat deployment.

"The training we received during this Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) and JTFEX was absolutely superb, from the individual exercises such as gun shoots, to the more complex, multi-ship events, like the opposed strait transit," he said. "It is the sixth COMPTUEX I have participated in and it has provided the best training I have seen."

The mission for Monterey's upcoming deployment is focused on her Ballistic Missile Defense capabilities, so she will not deploy with a Strike Group.

Even though Monterey will not deploy with the George H.W. Bush Strike Group, her crew participated in the COMPTUEX and JTFEX because one of the Navy's core missions is presence, Kilby said. That can be a single ship, multiple ships or a whole Strike Group, and Monterey must be ready to fit into a larger group at any time.

"I could not be more proud of this terrific crew!" said Kilby. "During a compressed training cycle, this crew has met every challenge and training opportunity head-on without complaint and they have excelled. I don't think you can find a single member of the crew who does not feel well-prepared or ready to meet the challenge of this deployment thanks to this exercise. COMPTUEX and JTFEX have really brought our crew together."