ABOARD USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- The USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Carrier Strike Group will join a fleet of ships and aircraft from 10 European partner navies June 21 in the North Atlantic near Scotland for a NATO maritime exercise.
Led by the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and its embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, the carrier strike group also includes the cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64) and the support ship USS Detroit (AOE 4).
These ships are at sea as part of a larger U.S. exercise called Summer Pulse '04. In this umbrella event, the U.S. Navy is demonstrating its ability to deploy multiple carrier strike groups around the world simultaneously with little notice.
The upcoming NATO exercise, called The Joint Maritime Course (JMC), is the second of three scheduled exercises for 2004 hosted by the Joint Maritime Operations Training Staff, a British naval organization. The exercise will feature more than 50 ships from Norway, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany and the United States.
Cmdr. Paul Bradfield, the tactics, plans, and exercise officer for the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, says major evolutions such as this afford the U.S. Navy an opportunity unlike most others by improving interoperability with other nations' maritime forces.
"This allows us to gain knowledge of, and operate against, dissimilar platforms. With the multitude of ships involved, we're going to get valuable training from other nations," said Bradfield.
The JMC involves two distinct phases. "Phase one is the training exercise, where each ship carries out its basic mission. Gettysburg (CG 64) will conduct gun support operations and coordinate the air defense system, while Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 will drop live ordnance on ranges," said Bradfield.
The exercise gradually gets more and more complex as ships conduct multiple operations simultaneously, such as tracking submarines and carrying out undersea warfare tactics while refueling.
"The second phase is the operational phase," Bradfield continued. "The 50 participating ships will split into two task groups. Enterprise will serve as one task group flagship, and the commander of the Belgian and the Netherlands task group will command the other," said Bradfield. "USS Detroit will provide logistic support and function as a high-value asset during the exercise."
The exercise is slated to conclude July 1.
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