PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- After two days of increased flight operations ending Oct. 3, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Strike Group (JCSSG) demonstrated it could handle the necessary flight-operation tempo required to surge in response to a contingency situation.
The crew of JCS and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 were required to boost flight operations about 65 percent, proving they could maintain the tempo required to solely handle a contingency situation until additional support could arrive. This was one of many tests needing to be completed before the end of JCSSG's composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX), which will certify the strike group capable of interoperating seemlessly.
"The surge was very successful," said Deputy Carrier Air Group Commander, Capt. Sterling Gilliam of CVW-9. "We are very impressed with the Stennis and Air Wing 9 team."
Sorties, or flight missions, flown during the two-day surge included anti-submarine warfare, surveillance, air defense and close-air support. The missions, flown at a fast-paced rate, lasted usually just more than one hour.
"They performed as I thought they would - superbly," said Gilliam. He added there has been a noticeable improvement in JCS and CVW-9's interoperability since they began conducting training evolutions together during June.
Not only were pilots flying increased missions, but the flight deck crews of JCS and CVW-9 were handling many more launches and recoveries with less time in between flight cycles. The efficiency of the flight deck crews was scrutinized, and they were timed them on how long it took between the first launch and the last recovery between flight-op cycles.
"You could tell, [during] the past two days, the ship and the air wing had gelled into one cohesive team," said Stennis' Mini Boss, Cmdr. Todd Lennon. "This evolution says a lot about what our capabilities are now."
The next step for the JCS and CVW-9 team is its combat operation efficiency test beginning Oct. 6, which upon completion, will certify JCS to launch aircraft in a blue-water environment, where the only place to land is the ship.
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