USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, At Sea (NNS) -- The Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and Eisenhower CSG have completed Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 07-2 "Operation Bold Step," wrapping up a series of operational scenarios with the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (R06) July 31.
These scenarios were designed to exercise fleet readiness and flexibility while functioning in major-combat operations with other U.S. military forces and its allies.
Both CSGs' senior leadership and the senior leadership of the coalition members were pleased with the results of the six-day exercise and the level of interoperability that the JTFEX proved. As many as 30 ships from five different nations and multiple air wings from both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marines took part in the exercise.
"I believe the outstanding performance of the three carrier strike groups can be attributed to the inspiring capabilities and professionalism of the nearly 15,000 men and women who participated in the exercise," said Capt. Dan Cloyd,USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) commanding officer. "They are the reason for our excellence."
Royal Navy Capt. Tim Fraser, Illustrious commanding officer, stated that the exercise was a great opportunity for all participating navies to learn from one another. Illustrious operated during the JTFEX with Marine Air Group (MAG) 13 and 14 on board for the exercises' entirety.
"The embarkation of AV-8B Harriers from the USMC Marine Aircraft Group has allowed the ship to train and test many aspects of the maritime strike capability in a demanding scenario alongside the U.S. Navy," Fraser said. "It has been a hugely exciting and rewarding time for the ship's company to operate with the [U.S. Marines], hopefully demonstrating our flexibility whilst taking this fantastic opportunity to share best practices."
"Operation Bold Step" focused on jointly employing a full range of capabilities, including air warfare, undersea warfare and surface warfare, in a coalition setting that incorporated the latest advances in war-fighting technology. Illustrious and U.S. Navy frigates and destroyers worked closely as a strike group lead by the British aircraft carrier.
"We have a shared responsibility for the safety of the seas," said Capt. Ann Phillips, Destroyer Squadron 28. "Working and training together with our partners and allies broadens our perspective and improves our ability to address the ever-changing maritime security environment."
The exercise offered a great opportunity to enhance the naval synergy of like-minded nations working in a multinational joint force. According to the participating commanders, "Operation Bold Step" was a chance to apply innovative ideas to increase the speed and agility in responding to future operations.
"The superb performance of the strike groups in these challenging JTFEX scenarios gives us confidence that we remain prepared to surge to major combat operations," said Rear Adm. Phil Cullom, commander of the Eisenhower CSG. "It allows us to surge effectively with a multi-national coalition anywhere the nation may need us."
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