SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Carrier Strike Group, led by Rear Adm. Bruce W. Clingan, is participating in a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) off the coast of southern California through the end of January.
The exercise is the final step in preparing the strike group for deployment, and is designed to test its ability to operate in a complex, hostile environment with other U.S. and coalition forces.
During this graduate-level exercise, more than 6,500 Sailors and Marines are working together to hone their operational skills in preparation for their upcoming around-the-world deployment. With the successful completion of the exercise, U.S. 3rd Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Michael McCabe will certify the Carl Vinson Strike Group ready for deployment.
"One of our key missions in 3rd Fleet is to provide our strike groups with world-class training to ensure that, if required, they operate decisively in combat," said McCabe. "We challenge strike groups to anticipate and prioritize every potential threat while operating with other U.S. and coalition units."
The strike group will also be working closely with the 8th Air Force based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Combined with the Strike Group's JTFEX, the Air Force Blue Flag Exercise will also serve to certify the participating Air Force units for deployment.
"JTFEX is really a win-win for the Navy and Air Force," said Clingan. "It affords both forces the opportunity to train together, just as we intend to fight together. In the end, we will have a combat-ready strike group that is ready to go anywhere in the world and act decisively in concert with the rest of our nation's services."
After completion of the exercise and certification for deployment, the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group will begin a six-month, around-the-world deployment. Leaving from its homeport of Bremerton, Wash., Carl Vinson will finish its deployment in Norfolk this summer, where it will undergo a complex overhaul.
The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group includes Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, Destroyer Squadron 31, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), the guided-missile destroyers USS O'Kane (DDG 77) and USS Mustin (DDG 89), the fast-combat support ship USS Camden (AOE 2) and the attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717).
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