Thursday, November 12, 2009

George Washington Begins ANNUALEX 21G

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) John J. Mike, USS George Washington Public Affairs

USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At sea (NNS) -- USS George Washington (CVN 73) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 began their participation in military exercise ANNUALEX 21G Nov. 10.

A yearly, combined-training exercise between the U.S. military and Japan Self Defense Force, ANNUALEX fosters interoperability and teamwork between the two nations.

According to George Washington Operations Officer Cmdr. Anthony Calandra, the ship's participation is important because it is permanently-forward deployed to Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan (CFAY).

"One of the reasons GW (George Washington) operates from Japan is to aid in their defense," Calandra said. "Through exercises like ANNUALEX, our countries can learn from each other and operate better as a team."

George Washington will be involved in multiple scenarios that include anti-submarine, air-to-surface and air-to-air warfare training.

"ANNUALEX runs the gamut as an exercise, and in the end, practicing these procedures will help us interoperate with the Japanese to maintain peace in the Pacific region," Calandra said.

As part of ANNUALEX, CVW 5 will work closely with the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) by practicing strike training in the Okinawa and Okino Daito Jima region.

"We learn valuable lessons working with each other, which allows us to operate at our full potential during a time of conflict," said CVW Commander, Capt. Ross Myers.

"Having JASDF pilots on board helps us gain a greater understanding of each other's capabilities and increase the interoperability between our two great countries," said Myers.

George Washington is participating in its second ANNUALEX since becoming the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier in 2008.

George Washington is commanded by Capt. David A. Lausman, the flagship of the George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GW CSG), which is commanded by Rear Adm. Kevin M. Donegan. George Washington departed its forward-deployed port of Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan Oct. 6 on its second fall deployment as the Navy's forward-deployed carrier presence. The GW CSG includes CVW 5, Destroyer Squadron 15 and the guided missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Cowpens (CG 63).