Ronald Reagan Strike Group Returns Following Completion of JTFEX 08-5

Story Number: NNS080423-19Release Date: 4/23/2008 3:01:00 PM
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From USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 returned to homeport April 22, following completion of Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 08-5.

The exercise tested the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group's ability to operate alongside other U.S. and coalition forces in a complex, hostile warfighting environment. JFTEX 08-5 was also the final step in preparing the strike group for deployment.

"This is the strike group's last training before we go on deployment," said Rear Adm. James P. "Phil" Wisecup, commander, Carrier Strike Group 7. "It's the ability to do integrated training, not just individual ship training. We bring the group together, all the ships, the air wing and the aircraft carrier, as well as the staffs of the warfare commanders and we fight the ship as a group.

"I'm very confident about the Ronald Reagan Strike Group's ability to go into harms way and also to do the nation's business," said Wisecup.

Ronald Reagan Commanding Officer Capt. Terry B. Kraft, noted the success of JTFEX 08-5 was the direct result of all of the hard work and dedication exhibited by the officers and crew.

"It is just amazing to watch the way a crew, a ship and an air wing come together to meet the kind of high-level of tasking that we're performing right now during JTFEX," said Kraft. "This carrier is ready to deploy in support of U.S. interests anywhere in the world."

In addition to the ship's performance during the exercise, Ronald Reagan also successfully completed its Maintenance, Material Management (3M) inspection with a score of 95 percent.

Wisecup said he was extremely impressed by the officers and enlisted Sailors assigned to the strike group.

"Their heads were in the right place, they were focused, they worked hard, they put in long hours," said Wisecup. "I'm proud as I could be of them and I am very, very honored to have the privilege to sail with them here in very short order."

Ronald Reagan Strike Group Sailors who took part in the excerise said they enjoyed the opportunity to work in the JTFEX environment.

"We learned a lot during the JTFEX," said Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class (SW) Justin D. Prince. "It was a great opportunity to work on a lot of the mission sets we can expect to see during deployment, especially in the strike group environment.

"For me specifically, there was the anti-submarine warfare mission I'm normally exposed to on [USS] Thach, as well as lot of infrastructure defense that we will probably do in the Gulf," added Prince. "JTFEX kept the whole crew on its toes and gave us a good idea of the pace we might experience."

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