Sailors aboard guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) set sea and anchor detail and heaved in all mooring lines for an early start to their beginning phases of deployment preparation, Jan. 7.
Normandy and additional assets in the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) will enter into a high-velocity series of training scenarios called Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) to demonstrate the capabilities of the ships and personnel that operate them.
“COMPTUEX is about building upon our established integrated operations and taking those skill sets we’ve developed within the entire strike group to another level,” said Capt. Scott F. Robertson, commanding officer of Normandy. “It is designed to replicate real world combat scenarios that can potentially present themselves to our strike group at any time during a deployment.”
The ship will be slammed with various training situations, such as communication and engineering drills, submarine, aircraft and missile attacks and simulated ship casualties in an effort to challenge the readiness Normandy Sailors.
“We are going to experience real combat situations from all angles, there will be training evaluations from a hostile ship boarding, submarine attacks, and enemy ships or vessels trying impede their justice upon our strike group,” said Robertson. “This is an extreme environment within the real world. This COMPTUEX adds a dimension that ships can’t receive during synthetic, in-port training and exercises.”
Each department will have its hands full responding to each.
“COMPTUEX is essentially geared towards testing the ship and her crew in pre-planned responses based upon real world experiences and various contingencies,” said Chief Information Specialist Ray Braimer. “We hold these exercises in high regards because they certify us to be deployable and ultimately assist in fleet readiness and answering our nation’s call.”
It is a pinnacle of combat stress training with the added bonus of knowing how to readily respond and take action when the time comes.
“Normandy has a high bar set for her Sailors, and I really feel like we are going to excel and meet all of our goals during this underway,” said Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Cliff Norman. “Many of my shipmates and I are committed to a reputation of zero failure, and we strive to set ourselves apart in the fleet.”
Throughout the exercise, Normandy Sailors will be engaged – from cooks lighting up grills in the early hours to make sure everyone is fed to the Ships Nautical or Otherwise Photographic Interpretation Examination (SNOOPIE) Team documenting potentially-threatening vessels and engineers running through the ship with sweat beads dripping down their brows from constant engagement in the engine rooms.
“I know my Sailors acknowledge that this is going to test their mettle and really prove what they are made of. It’s a high-strung, high-stress environment for the duration of this underway,” said Robertson. “I have complete faith in my Sailors. Time and time again, they step up to the challenge and blow these exercises out of the water. And, that’s what we’re looking to do again.”
These are the long days and nights outsiders hear about in the Navy, the grueling and sleepless nights, extreme weather conditions, cuts and bruises, all flooding the air with an excitement but these exercises prepare all the Sailors aboard Normandy to be ready for anything that comes their way.
The TRCSG consists of the staff of Carrier Strike Group 12, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, and her ships guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Forest Sherman (DDG 98) and USS Farragut (DDG 99). Independent deployers USS McFaul (DDG 74) and USS Laboon (DDG 58) will also participate in the TRCSG COMPTUEX, which is conducted by Carrier Strike Group 4.
Normandy will deploy with the TRCSG later this year to provide an overseas forward presence and maintain maritime security abroad.