NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HST CSG), joined by 13 foreign ships from nine nations completed Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 09-4 Sept. 22.
JTFEX functions as a certification evolution designed to test the capabilities of multiple carrier strike groups operation in a multinational, joint environment. It evaluates how ships work together in a variety of tactical situations and ensures the strike group and its crew is ready for deployment.
"We've seen some great training in all our warfare areas, and the most impressive part was the integration of our coalition partners. The training we have received with them was just fantastic," said Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, the strike group's commander. "We completed a spectrum of warfare, from single-ship boardings on ships that are passing through our area, to high-level scenarios where we were being attacked by submarines, surface ships, and aircraft at the same time." JTFEX was a successful demonstration of teaming with allies and Partners, he added.
One area of warfare the strike group focused on was anti-submarine warfare (ASW).
"We had a great ASW threat presentation with the Italian submarine, ITS Scire, and our own nuclear submarine. They have different capabilities and different limitations, so to work that problem was great training for us. We do a lot of ASW training in simulators, but to really excel at ASW, sailors need to train in the actual ocean environment," said Driscoll.
Participating countries included Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States. Some of the participating units included the Canadian ship HMCS Fredericton (FFG 337), Brazilian ship BNS Liberale (F43), Italian submarine ITS Scire (S527), and Royal Netherlands ships HNLMS Tromp (F803) and HNLMS Van Speijk (F828).
The exercise also marked the first ever inclusion of the Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 1, which includes the Danish ocean patrol vessel HDMS Thetis (F357), the Belgian coastal minehunter BNS Lobelia (M 921), the Royal Netherlands minehunter HNLMS Urk (M861), the Estonian minehunter ENS Sakala (M314), the British minesweeper HMS Quorn, and the Royal Norwegian minesweeper KNM Rauma (M352).
"It was a great opportunity to work communications and other interoperability issues with HDMS Thetis and other coalition partners during a training environment. Exercises like this will make real world operations easier to execute," said Cmdr. James Midkiff, commanding officer of USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79).
After successful completion of JTFEX, the Strike Group will now begin Fleet Synthetic Training – Joint, the final element of certification for global deployment.
The HST CSG is made up of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), with its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, and embarked Destroyer Squadron 26 staff, guided missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Hue city (CG 66); guided missile destroyers USS Carney (DDG 64), USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) and USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81).
CVW-3 consists of Strike Fighter Squadrons VFA-32, VFA-37, VFA-105 and VMFA-312; Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron VAQ-130; Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron VAW-126; and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron HS-7.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.