ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) has completed a sustainment exercise (SUSTAINEX), which was a scenario based pre-deployment exercise in the Atlantic Ocean June 3-17.
Rear Adm. Scott Craig, commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic (CSFTL) assessed HSTCSG's ability to carry out a broad scope of missions efficiently and effectively when operating in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.
During the SUSTAINEX exercise, HSTSG had to respond to many different challenges.
"You had air problems, surface problems, a subsurface problem and a problem over the beach that you had to deal with," said Craig. "That is a lot of stuff to integrate together and to allocate resources across the force."
Craig was pleased with the HSTCSG and thought the title of SUSTAINEX was a misnomer.
"I thought you did really tremendously well," said Craig. "You weren't really sustaining during SUSTAINEX, I think sustain is the wrong word for how the strike group performed. You didn't really sustain readiness; you raised it to a whole new level. It was a really tough challenge and you all did a great job."
The exercise prepared the entire strike group to respond as a team on deployment, possibly in hostile situations.
"The real importance is to make sure you're prepared to deal with a threat," said Craig. "We wanted to exercise the weapons systems, the people, the watch standers and the entire team to make sure the entire operation functions as designed."
The key to HSTCSG's success was the teamwork displayed among the different ships in the strike group during the exercise.
"The results speak for themselves; we performed really strong as a team," said Craig. "I think 'as a team' is the key phrase because it takes a team to pull off what you all pulled off. I think that was really indicative of the performance of the last couple days of the exercise when you were dealing with a lot of problems."
Craig said there were differences between the similar composite training unit exercise #COMPTUEX#, completed in January, and SUSTAINEX.
"It wasn't just a re-look at COMPTUEX," said Craig. "We had different players for COMPTUEX than we did for SUSTAINEX. We also had a longer at-sea period for COMPTUEX, and only Truman and Gettysburg were certified and already on a high level. Heading into this exercise the challenge was to integrate three new ships that weren't certified and not overtask them while continuing to challenge Truman and Gettysburg."
The Truman benefited from the training between COMPTUEX and SUSTAINEX.
"Truman performed extraordinarily well," said Lt. Cmdr. Mac Harkin, HSTCSG battle watch captain. "If you look back to where we started coming out of the yards and going into a January COMPTUEX, I thought the ship did really well despite the compressed schedule. Given a normal training schedule, the ship exceeded expectations and performed well above average in everything we did. Flight deck performance was nearly flawless, the tactical action officers were well trained and their watch standers were quick to respond to the variety of different challenges."
Harkin said Truman was ready to deploy after COMPTUEX and is even more ready today.
"We were ready in February, said Harkin. "We were certified and fit to deploy in February, but now we're a better team. The more people work together the better they become. I think Truman has received many great Sailors between February and now, and the Truman team is better because of it."
Harkin said Truman handled the different scenarios given by CSFTL and the strike group's proficiency.
"CSFTL tries to show you a lot of different challenges," said Harkin. "Sometimes it's a single threat and sometimes it's stacked threats with air, surface and subsurface contacts. I think the ship was well trained and it showed."
Craig said Truman's crew should be proud of what they accomplished during SUSTAINEX.
"Everybody should be proud of what you achieved during the last couple days," said Craig. "Even with different ships and some different people, if you compare the end of COMPTUEX and the end of SUSTAINEX, the performance was on a whole new level."
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman #CVN 75#, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/ .