USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At Sea (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) successfully completed its command assessment of readiness and training (CART II) Aug. 31.
The five-day assessment tested shipboard administration and material readiness, as well as the shipboard training teams' ability to plan, brief, execute and debrief complex drill sets to establish a proficient foundation for George Washington's upcoming final evaluation period (FEP).
"CART II is an opportunity to develop our training teams and watchstanders," said Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Callan, George Washington's training officer. "CART II is an assessment of our readiness and training, and Afloat Training Group (ATG) assessors are here to evaluate not just the way we do business, but also our training teams."
Thirty-three assessors from ATG arrived aboard to evaluate the ship's integrated training team and their proficiency in several evolutions. Subject-matter experts in various fields such as damage control, engineering, navigation and seamanship worked with their assigned departments to evaluate the aircraft carrier's Sailors.
"I am encouraged by our efforts with the ATG inspectors and I know that everyone on the ship will take the time to look at all major and minor hits in order to get ready for FEP," said Capt. G.J. Fenton, George Washington's commanding officer. "We make ourselves a better team every day and I'm extremely pleased with our performance."
CART II events included barricade drills with Air department, man overboard and recovery drills with Deck department and mass casualty drills with Medical department. George Washington also held several general quarters (GQ) drills to ensure the Sailors understood the purpose of responding to shipboard casualties.
"The operations we were drilled on are necessary lifesaving evolutions," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class John McNeil, from Conway, S.C. "We have to work together to fight the ship during a general quarters scenario. The rigid-hulled inflatable boat is a secondary method used to save lives during a man overboard drill and we need to stay proficient. If we don't do this right when the time comes, somebody's dead."
Every George Washington Sailor took part in demonstrating their skills; maintaining the conditional readiness of the ship and facing any casualty.
"Navigation department's contribution to CART II was mostly administrative, but still vital to George Washington because we are responsible for the safe navigation of the ship," said Quartermaster 2nd Class Ashley Fernandez, from San Diego. "Besides ensuring that our technical publications and training manuals are up to date, we have 17 charts that document our travel in the [U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations] and they have to be constantly updated and accessible at all times."
Through effective training, vigilance and teamwork, George Washington Sailors executed multiple evolutions and were rewarded with a successful grade.
"Our success was a team effort," said Fernandez. "We feed off one another and have a great synergy. I get nowhere without the support of the team."
Although completing CART II successfully, there is always room for George Washington Sailors to improve.
"We did extremely well overall, but there are a few areas where more training is needed," said Callan. "The training teams got great feedback from the assessors and they let us know what we did well and what needed improvement. It's good to have an extra set of eyes to maximize our effectiveness."
George Washington will continue in its preparations until early October, when ATG will return to conduct FEP and help increase proficiency of the crew in leveraging Fleet operations and exercises in carrying out the 7th Fleet mission.
"FEP is the World Series; once we complete FEP, George Washington is officially certified as a mission-ready aircraft carrier," said Callan.
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.