USS CARL VINSON, At Sea (NNS) -- The USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Carrier Strike Group successfully completed its 22-day Composite Training Unit Exercise, (COMPTUEX) Oct. 2 in the seas off the coast of Southern California.
COMPTUEX is an intermediate-level strike group training exercise. It typically represents the first time in a training cycle a carrier strike group operates together as a cohesive team and is a critical step toward the final certification to deploy overseas.
"COMPTUEX is an exercise, where, for the first time, we take the strike group -- Carl Vinson, Air Wing 9, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 31 and the rest of the ships that are going to deploy with us -- to make sure we are ready for deployment," said Carl Vinson Commanding Officer Capt. Kevin Donegan.
The exercise was broken down into two phases that were intended to test the strike group's ability to function as a carrier strike group.
Phase I was designed to provide training for warfare commanders and the rest of the strike group in operational tasking and decision-making.
Phase II was a scenario designed to measure the ability of the strike group to act as a coordinated, combat-ready force and was intended to closely resemble real-life conflict.
"For this exercise, we took the teamwork we've built with Air Wing 9 and expanded it to include DESRON 31 and the other ships in the battle group," said Donegan. "It's relatively easy to take a ship to sea and operate, and it's relatively easy to bring the air wing aboard and operate together, but it's much more difficult to operate as part of a much larger entity. Now, we've put the whole battle group to sea, and we had opposition forces - bad guy submarines, bad guy airplanes, bad guy ships - and we defended the battle group as we were conducting whatever operations we had to do - whether that was strike operations or operations to find an enemy ship and board it."
The success of COMPTUEX was a direct result of the hard work and dedication of highly trained Sailors and Marines from all rates and ranks.
"We had the combat personnel involved, and we had to get everyone else that mans the ships -- from the folks on the flight deck, to the crew in the engineering plant - to come together and make the whole thing work," said Donegan.
"You can try to simulate this kind of thing," said Operations Specialist 1st Class Cordy Jackson, Submarine Advisory Team operations assistant, "but, there's a big difference between a table-top exercise in some classroom and going through a real COMPTUEX at sea. On a carrier, you experience the stress and adrenaline as you go into the Final Battle Problem. The learning curve is very high. It's an invaluable experience."
"The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group has my congratulations on a truly exceptional COMPTUEX," said Rear Adm. Bruce Clingan, commander of the Strike Group. "I could not be more pleased with the performance of each unit and the strike group as a whole. The exercise was not without its challenges, but each one was met head on, and overcome with initiative and professionalism. I have never observed any team or teams work better together, and I could not be more proud of what they accomplished."
Units that participated in COMPTUEX include Carl Vinson, with CVW-9, and DESRON 31, USS O' Kane (DDG 77), USS Mustin (DDG 89), USS Antietam (CG 54), USS Camden (AOE 2), USS Olympia (SSN 717), and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11, Det. 9.
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