ABOARD USS JOHN C. STENNIS (NNS) -- USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) returned to Naval Base Kitsap, Bremerton, Wash., Nov. 21 after completing its Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) off the coast of Southern California.
The exercise was the final step in preparing the carrier and John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSSG) for deployment. It was designed to test the strike group's ability to operate in a complex warfighting environment with other U.S. and coalition forces.
At the conclusion of JTFEX, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, Vice Adm. Barry Costello certified the JCSSG as "ready for deployment."
According to Stennis' Commanding Officer, Capt. Brad Johanson, JTFEX was the capstone event of the ship's three-phase inter-deployment training cycle.
"The Tailored Ship's Training Availability was the first training phase that tested John C. Stennis' ability to respond to threats against the ship," said Johanson. "The second phase, the Composite Training Unit Exercise, tested the strike group's ability to work together in a major combat operations scenario. The final phase, JTFEX, was a graduate level exercise combining two carrier strike groups into a single carrier task force for the planning and execution of various air, surface, and anti-submarine warfare operations. JTFEX was the graduating exam that proves we are ready to deploy."
According to Engineering Department's Machinist's Mate 1st Class (SW) Mark Waldvogel, from the moment Stennis came out of the shipyard, through all three training exercises, the whole ship pulled together as a team.
"The training cycle was difficult, but it really proved to the crew that success means one team, one fight," said Waldvogel. "I'm glad it's over. Now the ship is ready for deployment."
Upon arrival, Stennis' 3,200 Sailors will begin their holiday stand down before leaving in early 2007 for its scheduled deployment.
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