|An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Gunslingers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105 prepares to make an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike). Ike and its carrier strike group are underway participating in a sustainment exercise designed to maintain deployment readiness as part of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anderson W Branch (Released) 170409-N-KK394-234|
"Ike CSG is doing a great job on SUSTEX. Sustaining the readiness of this strike group--so it is ready to respond to a crisis anywhere on the planet--is a bargain and an important part of what our Navy's Optimized Fleet Response Plan does for the nation," said Adm. Phil Davidson, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces.
SUSTEX is designed to test and train the carrier strike group's ability to perform and effectively respond as an integrated team during scenarios the group may encounter while deployed or during high-end warfare.
"Since returning in December 2016 from our combat deployment to the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea and Eastern Mediterranean, our tasking has been to remain deployment-ready in all respects," said Rear Adm. Jim Malloy, commander of Ike CSG. "The Navy has invested and focused its limited resources to keep us fully manned, trained and equipped in case we are needed for a crisis."
The exercise consists of a variety of training evolutions including anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, strike warfare, irregular warfare and maritime interdiction scenarios.
"SUSTEX provides a realistic and challenging at-sea opportunity to refresh those skills, apply what we learned on deployment and integrate any new personnel who might have rotated in since we deployed," explains Malloy.
Capt. Marc Miguez, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 commander, said the underway period, the air wing's first extended underway aboard Ike since completing the 2016 deployment, has proven to be a seamless re-integration as the Ike-Battle Axe team.
"This team learned how to effectively work together and execute the missions necessary to successfully complete our last deployment. We are back together now, honing our skills, processes and procedures to ensure we are combat ready to respond if called upon again," said Miguez.
Ike CSG comprised of its flagship, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike), embarked CVW-3, staffs of CSG-10 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26 and its associated ships: the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) and guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Monterey (CG 61), are participating in the SUSTEX as part of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP).
The squadrons of CVW-3, include Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32 "Swordsmen," VFA-86 "Sidewinders," VFA-105 "Gunslingers," and VFA-131 "Wildcats;" Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130 " Zappers;" Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123 "Screwtops;" Carrier Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 "Rawhides;" Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74 "Swamp Foxes;" and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7 "Dusty Dogs."