Tuesday, March 18, 2008

GW Carrier Strike Group Completes Training Exercises

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The George Washington (GW) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) returned to port March 14, following the successful completion of their Tailored Ship's Training Availability (TSTA) and Final Evaluation Problem (FEP) while also participating in a Canadian Task Group Exercise, concurrently.

TSTA/FEP is designed to test the George Washington CSG's ability to fight its ship by evaluating the crews' responses to a number of damage control and casualty situations to ensure that they would be able to sustain operations despite challenging situations.

During the several weeks of training and evaluation, the George Washington CSG also participated in Canada's Task Group Exercise 02-08 (TGEX 02-08) with four Canadian ships and a submarine.

The destroyer HMCS Iroquois (DDG 280), frigates HMCS Ville de Quebec (FFH 332), HMCS St. John's (FFH 340), oil replenishment ship HMCS Preserver (AOR 510), and the submarine HMCS Corner Brook (SSK-878) trained cooperatively with USS George Washington (CVN 73), USS Farragut (DDG-99), USS Boone (FFG-28) and USS Kauffman (FFG-59).

The Canadian TGEX 02-08 was designed to prepare the Canadian ships for their upcoming deployment by testing each in a wide variety of mission areas from their air defense, anti-submarine and anti-surface capabilities to their ability to conduct humanitarian efforts and refueling at sea operations.

By participating in the Canadian TGEX 02-08, the George Washington CSG was able to take its TSTA/FEP to a new level of tactical complexity not normally undertaken during this type of training milestone.

The hard-work and cooperation from both the American and Canadian ships during TGEX 02-08 received high praise from the Commander of the Canadian Task Group, Commodore R. A. Davidson.

"In all, I believe this to have been an excellent testament to the progress we are making in achieving smooth interoperability between our respective Navies and clearly illustrates the value, both in training and for operation, in achieving that goal," he said.

The George Washington CSG Commander, Rear Adm. Phil Cullom echoed the importance of their cooperative training to the ultimate goal of achieving security in the region.

"While this specific maritime collaboration had a tremendous benefit to the readiness of both our Strike Group and the Canadian Task Group, the greatest benefit to both our Nations is the increased security that results from honing such a strong maritime partnership," Cullom said.

With both exercises successfully completed, Cullom was clearly looking forward to future missions.

"Ultimately, we consider our recent cooperation with the Canadians an excellent kick-off to the extensive training the GW [Carrier] Strike Group will be conducting with numerous hemispheric partners in South America during our upcoming deployment," said Cullom.