USS KITTY HAWK, At Sea (NNS) -- Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group Sailors have been focusing their attention on environmental issues and requirements, while they prepared for the Talisman Saber (TS) 07 field training exercise (FTX) on June 18.
The exercise involves more than 32,000 Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Airmen from the United States and Australia and is designed to enhance both nations' ability to operate together in a contingency.
During the FTX, Kitty Hawk and other ships under Task Force 70 command will conduct their part of the exercise in the Northeast Australia Maritime Training Area near Rockhampton, Australia.
"The safety of our personnel and the environment is always a top priority for the Navy," said Lt. Cmdr. Florencio Yuzon, Commander Task Force 70's force judge advocate. "We are taking measures for TS07 to ensure exercise participants know the environmental requirements associated with this operating area."
Through U.S. and Australian military cooperation and coordination with environmental authorities, a robust mandatory training program was developed to ensure compliance with strict environmental standards.
Strike Group Sailors were required to view videos and briefs about environmental and cultural sensitivities, restricted areas and required mitigating actions.
"This was helpful for watch standers to be reminded of ways to protect the environment," said Operations Specialist 1st Class JoAnn Henderson. "It's good we received this training, since we'll be in an exercise area we don't normally operate in."
An environmental monitoring group has been established to monitor compliance with exercise environment protection instructions.
"The Great Barrier Reef has a number of environmental sensitivities. In keeping with our tradition of being a good steward to the environment, we will take action to mitigate any potential effects to the ecosystem," said Yuzon.
Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group consists of USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, along with other strike group units supporting TS07 -- USS Cowpens (CG 63), USS Shiloh (CG 67), and USS Stethem (DDG 63). Also participating, but under CTF 70 control, is USS Lake Erie (CG 70), homeported in Pearl Harbor.
Kitty Hawk Strike Group is commanded by Rear Adm. Rick Wren and is comprised of CVW 5, Aegis cruisers Shiloh and Cowpens and seven ships of Destroyer Squadron 15. It is the Navy's largest carrier strike group and the only one that is permanently forward deployed. The ships operate out of Yokosuka, Japan, and the air wing operates out of Atsugi, Japan. Together they comprise the combatant force of U.S. 7th Fleet.
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