USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Seven members of the Strike Force NATO team embarked USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) May 31 for a three-day interoperability assessment of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG).
U.S. Navy Capt. Benjamin Shevchuk led the Naples, Italy-based Strike Force NATO team, which included officers from the United States Navy, British Royal Marines, French Navy, and Turkish Air Force.
"We're here to assess how major US assets can integrate with NATO if a situation - such as crisis or non-combatant evacuation operation - should arise," said Shevchuk.
Strike Force NATO Intelligence Officer, Maj. Paul Spanner, of the British Royal Marines, has extensive experience working with a CSG, Truman being his fourth time aboard a U.S. carrier. His primary objective during the assessment is to learn how information is shared between coalition partners. He noted that working in a joint environment brings forth its challenges and advantages.
"Nations bring their own unique strengths with them," said Spanner. "The experience of working in a multinational environment is interesting, educational, and often entertaining, in the nicest sense of the word."
French Navy Lt. Cmdr. David Godefrey, a former C-2 Hawkeye naval flight officer, is also no stranger to CSG operations. Godefrey was part of the team that purchased the C-2 Hawkeye aircraft for France, and he flew the C-2 for several years, both aboard the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91), and with U.S. forces in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in 2001.
As the 100th anniversary of French naval aviation approaches, Godefrey expressed his hope that the U.S. and French navies will maximize opportunities to share knowledge, exchange ideas and train together. He observed that the French C-2 Hawkeye model is the same as the U.S., that they perform the same missions, and that the doctrines and qualification standards are the same in both services.
"During [OEF], it was a common practice for French and U.S. flight crews to swap out," said Godefrey. "I flew with U.S. Hawkeye crews several times, and U.S. crews flew with us. We both benefit when we train together."
The ability to operate jointly and in a multinational environment is an important part of the U.S. global maritime strategy. The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is currently operating with German frigate Hessen (F221), and will soon begin operations with French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91) in celebration of the 100th anniversary of French naval aviation.
Truman deployed May 21 as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group in support of Maritime Security Operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. HSTCSG includes Commander, Carrier Strike Group 10, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), Carrier Air Wing 3, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 26 and German frigate FGS Hessen (F221).
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.