USS NIMITZ, At Sea (NNS) -- In addition to more than 5,000 Sailors who call the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) home while underway, more than 30 Sailors from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) are also on board as Nimitz embarks on a six-week journey to complete Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX).
COMPTUEX is a training scenario designed to strengthen the warfare skills and maintain proficiencies of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11.
For many junior Sailors attached to Nimitz, this is their first sea tour. With Reagan being in dry dock in Bremerton, Wash., some of the temporary assigned duty (TAD) Sailors are getting their first at-sea experience on board Nimitz.
"I reported to the Reagan after the ship was in dry dock in Bremerton," said Quartermaster (QM) Seaman Apprentice Saray Calderin. "This is my first time being at sea so I'm nervous and excited at the same time."
Some of the Reagan Sailors have a little salt on their shoulders and some sea time under their belts but still look forward to their experience on Nimitz.
"I met up with the Reagan in Japan while they were on deployment," said Operations Specialist (OS) 3rd Class Keiko Sand. "This is my first experience being TAD but I enjoy being underway. There are a lot of new faces and I'm excited to be here."
Being TAD to another ship does not mean it is a vacation from work. While the Reagan Sailors are here, they haveve all set career-oriented goals to accomplish during COMPTUEX.
"My LPO (leading petty officer) handed us each a binder full of PQSs (personnel qualification standards) for us to work on while we're here," said Calderin, referring to herself and another Sailor who is TAD from Reagan. "Ultimately, I want to complete my basic PQS's, be hands on with my rate and get a better feel for what it's like being out to sea."
"For me, I can't really do my job unless there's aircraft on board," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Brandon Warr. "I volunteered to come here so I could work on my qualifications, get some experience in my rate and spend time out to sea. By the end of this underway, I want to be a fully qualified blue shirt, working my way toward yellow shirt. It's a lot of work but with my time on Nimitz, it's possible as long as I put in the effort. I also want to work toward my air warfare pin."
Starting as an undesignated seaman, Sand spent a lot of her time on Reagan working in the Deck department. However, after studying and taking the operations specialist test during the March 2012 test cycle, Sand was able to strike into the OS rate.
"Since I didn't get a chance to go through A-school, I'm looking forward to working in my rate and really getting a chance to see what it's like for my job when we're at sea," said Sand. "I'm just here for COMPTUEX but I'm working toward getting my 301-306 TOP (tactical operation plot) qualifications. The people I've been working with in the division here have all been so friendly and helpful. I've been learning a lot about my rate so far and it's exciting."
Throughout the course of COMPTUEX, the Reagan Sailors will not only be working toward accomplishing their career-oriented goals but will be working and learning alongside Nimitz Sailors, strengthening their skills and maintaining proficiencies in order for the mission to be completed.
For more news from USS Nimitz (CVN 68), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn68/.