ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Carrier Strike Group successfully completed its first Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) and Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) Feb. 21, with significant involvement from the Spanish frigate ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbn (F-102).
The Spanish ship and its crew of 240 were fully integrated into the George H.W. Strike Group throughout its first COMPTUEX, which began Jan. 19, and JTFEX, which began Feb. 14.
JTFEX simulated the integration of George H.W. Bush and other Strike Group ships into a joint task force and tested their ability to operate effectively with other military forces. Because Borbn will participate in the early stages of the George H.W. Bush Strike Group's deployment, scheduled for spring of this year, full integration of crews, systems and protocol was critical.
According to Borbn's commanding officer, Cmdr. Benigno Gonzalez-Aller, successful integration into world-scale maritime operations is something that only comes through joint exercises like COMPTUEX and JTFEX.
"For a country like Spain it is extremely important," said Gonzalez-Aller, a 24-year veteran of the Spanish navy. "It is unthinkable that we can deploy beyond our waters independently. For that reason, we need to train to be interoperable with our allies, particularly with the largest Navy in the world."
The second in a new class of AEGIS frigates, Borbn fires Standard and Harpoon missiles. The frigate is equipped to deploy MK-32 torpedoes, and has a 5-inch gun and two 20mm machine guns. In the near future, the ship will also bring aboard the Evolved Sea Sparrow weapon system.
With its defense capabilities, Borbn is designed to preserve peace and freedom of navigation, but is also capable of providing humanitarian relief and maritime assistance. These capabilities are invaluable to the flexibility of the Strike Group to carry out any tasking, anywhere in the world.
"This is indicative of how Borbn has been folded into the Strike Group," said Commander, Carrier Strike Group TWO, Rear Adm. Nora Tyson. "They are not hand-picked to do certain missions. They are fully integrated. They are another fully-capable asset to be used where and when needed. I am as proud of Borbn as I would be of any of our Strike Group ships, because, quite simply, she is one of our Strike Group ships."
During both COMPTUEX and JTFEX, Borbn and George H.W. Bush Sailors have participated in several military and cultural exchange visits.
Along with Borbn and George H.W. Bush, GHWB Strike Group assets participating in COMPTUEX/JTFEX included USS Mitscher (DDG 57), USS Gettysburg (CG 64), USS Truxtun (DDG 103), USS Anzio (CG 68), USS Monterey (CG 61), the squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, the French frigate FS Primauguet (D 644) and the French submarine FS Perle (S606). The GHWB Strike Group expects to depart on its initial combat deployment in the spring of 2011.
For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/.