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In addition to the U.S. Navy participants, the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the Italian destroyer ITS Caio Duilio (D 554) and submarines from Brazil and Colombia joined the strike group to increase interoperability and capability with allies and partners during composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX), which was led by Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 4.
“The job of the embarked CSG 4 staff is to mentor, train and assess deploying carrier strike groups on the east coast,” said Rear Adm. Rich Brophy, commander, CSG 4. “Carrier Strike Group 10 demonstrated the flexibility and proficiency necessary to certify in all required mission areas. The strike group is fully ready for any contingency or operations ahead.”
COMPTUEX is designed to fully integrate the GHWBCSG, under the command of CSG 10, as a cohesive, multi-mission fighting force and test the group’s ability to carry out sustained combat operations from the sea. COMPTUEX lasts several weeks, during which units are tested on their proficiency and readiness for deployment through scenario-based, live training, that increases in complexity and intensity.
The exercise allowed the ships, aircraft, and staffs to work together in response to specific scenarios across all warfare areas, and to refine their ability to communicate and fight alongside one another in a realistic training environment that included academic, synthetic and live training events.
“I could not be prouder of our international maritime force and the way we worked together as a team during COMPTUEX,” said Rear Adm. Dennis Velez, commander, CSG 10. “The assessors pushed us to learn and grow, and I look forward to deploying with highly-competent and confident strike group. We are, and will continue to be, ready to fight and win at sea if required – there is nothing we cannot accomplish together.”
For the first time during a COMPTUEX, a marine expeditionary unit (MEU) integrated virtually into the events from Expeditionary Warfare Training Group, Atlantic (EWTGLANT). This training allowed the 26th MEU to increase staff proficiency across various warfighting functions and provided a unique experience to exercise naval interoperability.
“This is the first time that a marine expeditionary unit has integrated into a carrier strike group’s COMPTUEX,” said Col. Dennis Sampson, commanding officer of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “This COMPTUEX allowed the 26th MEU to partner with Expeditionary Strike Group 2 as a higher echelon command mirroring a marine expeditionary brigade or the current Task Force 61/2 construct. Exercises like COMPTUEX provide the 26th MEU with a unique opportunity to enhance our core staff competencies across warfighting domains, contributing to the success of the naval expeditionary force within the construct of this exercise. Moreover, as we prepare to deploy with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, these realistic naval exercises provide opportunities for naval integration and opportunities to strengthen relationships across the amphibious ready group/marine expeditionary unit, while showcasing the relevance and operational capability the ARG/MEU provides to a fleet commander,” Sampson concluded.
During COMPTUEX, the strike group also conducted the fourth iteration of the NATO vignette developed by CSG 4 and Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Centre of Excellence (CJOS COE).
“The strike group seamlessly executed their transfer of authority during the NATO vignette,” said Vice Adm. Daniel Dwyer, commander of U.S. 2nd Fleet and director of CJOS COE. “These TOAs are an essential component of our activities together, and the importance of the Alliance, especially now, cannot be overstated. The NATO Alliance is stronger than ever, and any opportunity for our forces to train and exercise together increases our ability to integrate when called upon.”
NATO vignette refers to a period of time during which a NATO command exercises command and control of exercise participants. The GHWBCSG team rehearsed a transfer of authority (TOA) of command and control between U.S. 2nd Fleet and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO), NATO’s rapidly deployable joint headquarters in Portugal. The strike group used NATO reporting procedures, messaging formats and chat capabilities, reinforcing command and control and aligning communications channels to ensure a seamless process in the event of a crisis. NATO vignettes also support the development of interoperability requirements for future force generation and improve allied maritime command and control linkages that are vital in all phases of warfare.
“COMPTUEX was a great opportunity for ITS Duilio and the Italian Navy to improve our capability to operate within complex environments,” said Capt. Jacopo Rollo, Caio Duilio’s commanding officer. “This level of cooperation is essential between our navies and to strengthen the relationship and skills of our crews.”
Caio Duilio joined the GHWBCSG for COMPTUEX under the Cooperative Deployment Program, which prioritizes defense partnerships and capabilities between the U.S. and bilateral or multilateral partners to increase combined capability.
George H.W. Bush provides the national command authority flexible, tailorable warfighting capability as the flagship of a carrier strike group that maintains maritime stability and security to ensure access, deter aggression and defend U.S., allied and partner interests.
The GHWBCSG is an integrated combat weapons system that delivers superior combat capability to deter, and if necessary, defeat America’s adversaries in support of national security. GHWBCSG’s major command elements are the aircraft carrier USS. George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), the Information Warfare Commander, and Italian Navy destroyer ITS Caio Duilio (D 554).
The ships of DESRON 26 within the GHWBCSG are USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Truxtun (DDG 103) homeported in Norfolk, Va. and USS Farragut (DDG 99) and USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119) homeported in Mayport, Fl.
The squadrons of Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW 7) embarked aboard George H.W. Bush are the “Jolly Rogers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103, the “Pukin Dogs” of VFA-143, the “Bluetails” of Carrier Airbone Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, the “Nightdippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5 located in Norfolk, Va.; the “Sidewinders” of VFA-86 and the “Nighthawks” of VFA-136 located in Lemoore, Ca.; the “Patriots” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140 based in Whidbey Island, Wa; and the “Grandmasters” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46 located in Mayport, Fl.
For more information about George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, head to Facebook (www.facebook.com/csg10) and (www.facebook.com/ussgeorgehwbush). Instagram (www.instagram.com/ghwbcvn77). LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/carrier-strike-group-ten) and (www.linkedin.com/uss-george-h-w-bush-cvn77).
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