SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- Expeditionary Strike Group 7 and Tactical Training Group Pacific successfully completed another annual Fleet Synthetic Training-Joint Exercise (FST-J) April 29.
This year was unique in that ESG 7 held the training aboard the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20) instead of the strike group's flagship, amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6).
While the training is usually held aboard Bonhomme Richard, Green Bay was chosen for the exercise due to maintenance availability. This served as a chance to test new technologies and different capabilities Green Bay has to offer the ESG. Green Bay is the only ship of its class in the 7th Fleet area of operations, setting it apart as one of the most diverse players in amphibious operations for the task force.
"Green Bay brings a C5I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Collaboration, and Intelligence defense) capability to the Amphibious Ready Group that adds substantially to battle space awareness," said Capt. Kristy McCallum, USS Green Bay commanding officer. "Further, the combination of our main batteries -- the flight deck and well deck -- when backed by our medical facilities, offers the commander an alternative to the LHD in mission tasking and execution that did not exist prior to Green Bay's arrival in this theater."
Although the exercise is held as pierside training, the simulated scenarios reflect real threats and possibilities that may occur during routine and contingency operations. TTGP directed the training to increase proficiency in joint task force efforts and warfighting operations.
"Our primary focus and mission for FST-J is to train staffs in the tactical operations of war," said Cmdr. Christopher Nodine, TTGP Amphibious Warfare Syndicate chairman. "Pierside is really the only place we can do that. In your own unit, you get so used to working within your own boundaries. Here, we got each group to step outside their boundaries and learn how to work together. By putting more strike groups together, the fleet can achieve an effective theaterwide level of war. Now that there is synchronization between the task force planners, they can effectively and coherently move forward with the tasks they've been given."
Synthetic training scenarios give task forces the chance to evaluate their integration roles as a combined force in a secure environment. Additionally, using a different ship as the hub for the training proved all assets are prepared to step up, should the need arise.
"It was a great experience to show how the various task forces can problem-solve and work together in how they become an efficient fighting force for the 7th Fleet area of operations," said Capt. Thomas Kait, ESG-7 chief of staff. "Green Bay worked really hard from a technical and professional aspect to make sure everything ran smoothly for us to embark for a good training evolution."
Green Bay is forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan, and serves under ESG 7. ESG 7 is led by Rear Adm. John B. Nowell, commander of Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force, headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa.
For more news from Commander, Amphibious Force, U.S. 7th Fleet, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/ctf76/.