USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At Sea (NNS) -- The George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG), with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, began participating in Exercise Talisman Saber 2009 (TS09) July 13.
TS09, a biennial exercise hosted by the Australian Defense Force, is designed to enhance combat readiness while maintaining the highest levels of interoperability between U.S. and Australian forces.
"With both nations dedicated to enhancing security and stability in the region, Talisman Saber 2009 provides us with the unique opportunity to train together across the full spectrum of missions from high-end combat operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief," said Rear Adm. Kevin M. Donegan, commander of Battle Force 7th Fleet. "The end result is the enhanced efficiency that comes from extensive interoperability among our joint military services."
Capt. Michael S. White, commander of CVW 5, said the exercise will present some new and unique training opportunities for CVW 5 pilots embarked on the carrier.
"Northern Australia, where we are working for TS09, really has some great flying opportunities — and the fact that we'll be working with our Air Force, Marine Corps and Royal Australian counterparts," said White. "The events are complex and challenging, but the training value is very good. It's a great opportunity for us to go get better at what we do."
USS George Washington (GW) (CVN 73) Combat Direction Center (CDC) Officer, Cmdr. Peter Walczak, said the purpose of GW's participation is to build and foster relationships with Australians while practicing responses to possible crises or small conflicts.
"We'll be performing simulated strikes on targets in central and northern Australia," said Walczak. "The scenarios are simulated for the purpose of dislodging a hostile element from a region of a local country. We'll also be simulating attacks on GW."
Walczak said the ship will then devise a simulated air plan in order to defend the ship and strike group from air attack.
"GW is performing typical operations, but our attitude is different. We're putting our game face on, where drills are not just at a departmental or divisional level; we're looking at where we fit within the strike group as a whole."
Cmdr. Mark Stoops, GW's air officer, said the exercise will allow the ship's air department to work in a high-tempo flight operations environment.
"We're launching and recovering aircraft every day regardless, but throughout the exercise our volume of operations will be much higher," said Stoops. "This is good because this way we can continue to practice and keep our skills sharp."
Capt. David A. Lausman, commanding officer of GW, the flagship of the George Washington Carrier Strike Group, is currently making its inaugural summer deployment from Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan.
GWCSG is comprised of CVW 5, Destroyer Squadron 15 and guided-missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Cowpens (CG 63).
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.