USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- The USS Harry S. Truman (HST) (CVN 75) Carrier Strike Group received its combat operations efficiency certification June 16 as part of the strike group's Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), which was completed June 20. The ship is now heading east in support of Summer Pulse '04.
Formerly known as blue water operations certification, this certifies the strike group as ready to conduct open-ocean operations.
"Achieving combat operations efficiency certification is a key milestone for the ship and air wing team; it allows us to depart from the ties to land," said HST Executive Officer Capt. Ladd Wheeler.
Commander, Carrier Group (COMCARGRU) 4, Rear Adm. Richard Gallagher and his staff were aboard HST throughout COMPTUEX. Wheeler said Gallagher had high praise for the Truman team.
"During the out-brief, it was reported that we had achieved new standards for event factor, which is how quickly you can launch and recover aircraft. We also set new standards for boarding rates," said Wheeler. Boarding rates are the percentage of how many aircraft are able to land aboard the carrier on their first try.
Part of the reason the strike group was so successful during COMPTUEX was the level of teamwork that exists, not just between the ship and air wing, but also between the individual warfare commanders on the different platforms, led by Commander, Harry S. Truman Strike Group, Rear Adm. Michael Tracy.
"Teamwork was critical," Wheeler said. "It involves all warfare areas from surface to subsurface, electronic, information, intelligence, and air warfare. Although Truman is often the hub for coordinating the activity, in many cases we are not the platform for execution. Therefore, we rely on the participating units under the lead of our DESRON [Destroyer Squadron 26] commodore."
The exercise strengthened the already considerable level of interoperability within the strike group units.
"Some units joined up with us at different levels of training, but they were all quickly brought up to speed with the rest of the strike group," said Wheeler.
He also pointed out that the level of teamwork did not go unnoticed by the COMCARGRU 4 staff. "They enjoyed being aboard and noted the obvious teamwork that was present among the warfare commanders, and spread all the way down to the deckplates."
He also commended "Team Truman" for how quickly it was able to get back into the war-fighting mindset.
"This ship and air wing team picked up, after knocking off some rust, pretty much where we left off after deployment," Wheeler said. "The team is now certified and will head east to participate in Summer Pulse '04 and join the other six carrier and air wing teams doing the same thing."
As Truman crosses the Atlantic Ocean, the executive officer encouraged all aboard to use the transit time to reflect on the recently completed exercise and refine areas that need improvement, while continuing to practice the areas in which the crew proved itself to be proficient. He is also very proud of all that has been achieved to this point.
"I think we maintained the right attitude throughout the exercise, and having the right attitude is 90 percent of the battle," Wheeler said. "There is still a lot of work to do before we return to home port, but achieving combat operations efficiency certification is an important step toward returning to the global war on terrorism."
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