Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Enterprise Strike Group Sets Sail For Final Pre-deployment Exercise

The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), center, is underway with the Norwegian navy frigate HNoMS Nansen (F 310), left, and the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Daring (D 32) during a Composite Training Unit Exercise for the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Alex R. Forster/Released)

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jared M. King, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Carrier Strike Group (ENTSG) departed its homeport of Norfolk to participate in a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) Dec. 4.

For Sailors, JTFEX marks the culmination of months of preparation and training to ensure the strike group is ready for its upcoming deployment.

JTFEX will be the pinnacle of training for ENTSG to test and evaluate its ability to conduct numerous missions and handle threats similar to ones that may be presented while deployed. It is an exercise in which ENTSG will be faced with multiple threats from several different regions.

Operations experts from Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic (CSFTL) embedded with ENTSG will grade the strike group's performance throughout JTFEX. At the end of the exercise, a detailed report card is issued across various warfare areas including anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, anti-air warfare, command and control warfare, and strike warfare.

If it is determined that certain operational areas need additional training, there is additional time allotted in the ships' schedules to allow for remedial training at sea if required.

"Our Sailors are fired up and ready to go," said Capt. O. P. Honors, commanding officer of Enterprise. "We've done great in our training to date, and I have no doubt we'll knock this one out of the park too."

The entire strike group must pass the rigorous training in order to deploy.

"This strike group has exceeded the expectations of its assessors so far, and I am very proud of everything we have accomplished," said Rear Adm. Terry B. Kraft, commander of Carrier Strike Group 12. "It's the Sailors of these ships working together as a team that means the difference between success and failure. It's challenging training, but the next time we see these threats they could be real."

Enterprise plans to make a port visit during the exercise, but that doesn't mean it is all fun and games. The strike group will be graded on how it conducts its liberty and in port security procedures as well.

"We practice everything. We even practice having fun," said Capt. Ryan Scholl, Enterprise's executive officer. "Because an aircraft carrier is also a tool of diplomacy, we engage in the same amount of planning and training going into a liberty port as we do for at-sea operations. We will be conducting community relations projects and hosting people aboard the ship in addition to seeing the sights."

During its port visit, Enterprise will undergo a degaussing procedure, a process that changes the magnetic signature of a ship's hull, making it more difficult to detect.

Once JTFEX is successfully completed, the 49 year old Enterprise and the strike group will be ready to deploy. For Enterprise, it will mark the carrier's 21st deployment.

Enterprise Strike Group consists of Enterprise, the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), the guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Barry (DDG 52) and USS Mason (DDG 87), USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8), Carrier Air Wing 1 and Destroyer Squadron 2.

Enterprise Strike Group is conducting JTFEX as part of its work-ups in preparation for an upcoming deployment.