The carrier strike group assigned to the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson returned to San Diego after completing the composite unit training exercise and joint task force exercise (COMPTUEX/JTFEX), on November 21.
During their time at sea, the unit conducted various exercises and completed evaluations to certify their ships as deployment ready.
The exercise combined the strike group’s entire assets through complex, scenario-based training exercises.
Speaking about the exercise, Rear Adm. James Kilby, commander of carrier strike group 1 said the drill was the “graduation exercise” for a carrier strike group to deploy overseas.
COMPTUEX/JTFEX was a three-stage event, explained Kilby. During the first phase, which he labeled the “crawl” stage, the events were scheduled. Next, the exercise moved into the “walk” phase, in which he said the scenario-based training started.
“Finally (in stage three), we were challenged with an advanced threat in which we had to react and use our resources we had at hand,” said Kilby. “We really challenged the strike group in this exercise. It’s all about reaction and having to live with the decisions made during the evolution. The battle changes with the decisions we make.”
Units participating in the COMPTUEX included Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2; the “Black Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4; the “Blue Hawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78; the “Blue Blasters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34; the “Bounty Hunters” of VFA 137; the “Golden Dragons” of VFA 192; the “Black Eagles” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113; the “Gauntlets” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136; Commander, Destroyer Squadron 1.
Guided-missile destroyers USS Michael Murphy, USS Wayne E. Meyer, USS Dewey, USS Sterett and USS O’Kane, and guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain also took part in the drill.
In the photo above shared by the U.S. Navy, USS Carl Vinson sailors and Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 137 “Kestrels”, direct the pilot of an F/A-18E Super Hornet on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier during the exercise.