USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and embarked Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70 completed a successful Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) as part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (CSG) Dec. 15.
A critical step in pre-deployment training, COMPTUEX is designed to train the ship, embarked air wing and carrier strike group for combat readiness by simulating scenarios the strike group may face while deployed.
During COMPTUEX, Philippine Sea’s primary mission was air defense. The ship was tasked to support the mission objectives of Rear. Adm. John Aquilino, commander of CSG 2, and maintain air superiority for the strike group.
“Philippine Sea met all challenges head-on with aplomb and fortitude while performing textbook duties as the CSG air warfare commander,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mel Pucan, a COMPTUEX assessor from Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command. “Not only did they lead the charge in air warfare, they were instrumental in defending the strike group against submarine, fast inshore attack craft (FIAC) and surface combatants in a complex multi-threat environment.”
The three-week exercise included both scheduled and unscheduled simulations to keep the ship and its crew constantly on the alert.
One of the key aspects of COMPTUEX is strike group integration. All the ships and aircraft of CSG 2 had to communicate and work together as a unit to successfully complete every event.
The completion of COMPTUEX now qualifies Philippine Sea for open-ocean operations.
“Every crew member was put to the test and responded admirably to every challenge,” said Capt. Wesley Smith, the ship’s commanding officer.
Following the completion of COMPTUEX, Philippine Sea will return to its homeport of Mayport, Fla., where Sailors will be able to spend the holidays with their loved ones before the ship leaves for its scheduled deployment in early 2014.
George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group consists of Carrier Strike Group 2 staff, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, Destroyer Squadron 22 staff, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), guided-missile cruisers USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), and guided-missile destroyers USS Truxtun (DDG 103), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) and USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51).
Press Release, December 17, 2013; Image: Wikimedia