NORFOLK (NNS) -- Carrier Strike Group 8 completed the Fleet Synthetic Training - Group Commander exercise, Aug. 21.
FST-GC is an exercise designed to test the strike group's ability to perform together in different synthetic scenarios. Aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), Carrier Airwing 7, and Destroyer Squadron 28 joined forces to tackle this evolution.
"FST-GC is another step in the building-block approach to certifying a carrier strike group is ready to go on deployment," said Cmdr. D. W. Valascho, CSG-8 operations officer.
The training placed the strike group underway in a realistic training scenario where they completed basic tasks that progressed into more challenging requirements. Participants included personnel from the U.S., Britain, Denmark and Germany as well as guided missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68), and guided missile destroyers USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and USS Gravely (DDG 107).
"The exercise provides us with simulated attacks and evaluates the response of the team," said Operations Specialist 2nd Class E. A. Soloranzo. "Though the situations are imaginary, they are important because they allow us to gain experience while still ironing out the kinks we may have. It also provides us opportunities to sharpen our technical and communication skills."
Operating in a simulated environment enabled the ability to focus on training new watchstanders without the distractions of the variables present while underway, such as bad weather. A second advantage of conducting pier-side evolutions is the cost savings to taxpayers by not getting the five ships participating underway.
"This method of training is effective because it gives us the ability to plan high-end operations and execute them in a synthetic environment without having to send ships to sea and actually fly aircraft," said Valascho.
Valascho added that FST-GC helps to build confidence in the strike group's Sailors, many who have not worked together before.
"Teamwork is what it takes to succeed in combat operations," said Valascho. "FST-GC stresses the staff communications and planning efforts to ensure we fight together as a team."
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.