Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stennis Begins Exercise In Preparation For Deployment

Aviation Electricians Mate 3rd Class Eric Jameson Pierce, from Muldrow Redland, Okla., reads a service manual from a laptop while installing an arresting gear proximity switch on an F/A-18C Hornet aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). Stennis is participating in a composite training unit exercise off the coast of Southern California. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Will Tyndall/Released)

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kathleen O'Keefe, USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- The USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG) began its composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) May 6 after pulling out of San Diego.

COMPTUEX, a three-week evolution required of each carrier strike group before departing for a deployment overseas, qualifies JCSCSG to deploy to any theater of operations world-wide.

"COMPTUEX is the cornerstone of our workup cycle," said Stennis' Strike Operations Officer, Cmdr. Stevin Johnson. "It will be the first full integration with the strike group, in which we will train for operations that we might face on deployment."

Stennis will work with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21, USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) and other independent Navy ships in combating different scenarios presented by Commander, Strike Force Training Forces Pacific (CSFTP).

"COMPTUEX really makes everyone come together as a team," said Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SW/AW) Patrick McKeever, who participated in COMPTUEX with Stennis during its last deployment cycle. "On a large scale all the ships come together and train for deployment. Internally, the ship's company trains with essentially everyone that will be on deployment. It really prepares the entire strike group for successful operations when we deploy."

The scenarios led by CSFTP will challenge ships, the air wing, and the entire strike group, in their ability to handle a variety of circumstances the strike group could potentially encounter while deployed. CSFTP will evaluate the strike group and present results to Commander, U.S. Third Fleet.

"We will be demonstrating the strike group's combat efficiency," said Stennis Executive Officer Capt. Michael Wettlaufer. "Everything on Stennis will be a key part to the success. From our communication links, satellites, launching aircraft, down to the propulsion plants, Stennis will act as a huge piece in this exercise."

The cruiser and destroyers in the strike group will act as defense perimeters against air, submarine and surface threats, protecting Stennis so it can project its force abroad.

"COMPTUEX is the final stone, and will bring us into joint task force exercise [JTFEX], where other branches of the military will work with the strike group and we can train as a joint service," said Johnson.

JTFEX is the final exercise Stennis and the strike group must complete before deployment.

COMPTUEX will bring JCSCSG ships and aircraft together to prepare a force capable of protecting the nation's interests and security anywhere in the world.