ABOARD USS JOHN C. STENNIS (NNS) -- USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) pulled into Naval Air Station North Island Nov. 21, after successful completion of the Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX).
The COMPTUEX was conducted during a 26-day underway period, in which various training exercises were performed to prepare the ship for its upcoming scheduled deployment.
"COMPTUEX brings ships and naval aviation together to project force as a strike group. It's an intermediate-level battle group exercise designed to forge the strike group into a cohesive fighting team. It's a critical step in the pre-deployment training cycle and a prerequisite for the battle group's Joint Task Force Exercise," said Command Master Chief (SW) William T. Etherton.
"COMPTUEX is very important to Stennis and to the Navy as a whole, because it's critical that the strike group commander and Navy leadership be confident that the Stennis Strike Group is ready to deploy and be successful in any mission assigned," said Etherton, a native of Murray, Ky.
With Commander, Carrier Group (COMCARGRU) 1 aboard, the crew had to show they were up to that task.
"Stennis performed superbly during the COMPTUEX. It was the first time that Stennis and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 have operated together, due to CVW-14's extended deployment on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72)," said Etherton. "The integration was smooth and seamless. Our performance is remarkable, considering the relatively short amount of time that we have worked together as a team."
"COMCARGRU 1 said we were the best strike group they've ever seen," said Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) (SW) Shannon R. Day. "They say we're ready to go conduct sustained operations at sea. Right now, we're surge-ready if we have to deploy for actual operations."
"Through all the battle problem scenarios, we didn't have any casualties on our ships. Everybody in the strike group was up with all their equipment the whole underway. We only had minor problems, and all the minor problems were quickly resolved," said Operations Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Luis A. Quezada.
The success of an exercise like this lies on an entire team of people that come together from squadrons and from the ship itself.
"Without properly trained Sailors that are motivated to excel, we would not be able to be the success that we are, regardless of the superior technology that we possess in our ships and aircraft. Our Sailors are the ones that made us successful in the many graded events of COMPTUEX that culminated with the final battle problem...a three-day, multi-scenario exercise required to successfully complete COMPTUEX," said Etherton.
"Leadership emanated from the second classes [petty officers] and up. The junior petty officers and the seamen took positions of leadership, also. Leadership is not intrinsic on the collar device you wear. If you're put in the position of leadership and you wear that hat well, you can move mountains. I think that's what our whole ship did in COMPTUEX," said Day, a native of Fargo, N.D.
Teamwork was a large part of the success in this important exercise.
"I'm impressed with the expertise the entire ship showed, from the flight deck down to the engineering spaces. We were underway for a sustained period of time and worked together as a team the whole time," said Day. "If one person needed help, other people in other divisions helped the person out. That's how the Navy should be."
After the successful completion of the COMPTUEX, Stennis is now surge-ready and available to deploy on command if needed.
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