Story & Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kathleen O’keefe

A properly functioning Strike Group is integral to mission readiness, and exercises simulating group sail help prepare ships for complicated tactical maneuvers.

Members of John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG), guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), guided missile destroyers USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Dewey (DDG 105), and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and frigate USS Ford (FFG 54), came together Wednesday in preparation for a mid-2011 deployment.

“Transiting together prepares the entire strike group for future missions,” said Tactical Action Officer Ens. Patrick Emery. “We learn to do things using muscle memory. If we practice over and over again we won’t analyze a situation when it happens. We will just react appropriately.”

Over the course of the next few months the strike group assets will integrate and train in working together as a cohesive unit.

“When we work as a group instead of just individual ships we find out how everything works,” said Assistant Combat Direction Center Officer Chief Warrant Officer 3 Chad Guerrero. “Instead of training on communications with someone across the room, personnel actually use actual circuits to treat a training situation like it is the real deal.”

Maintaining a combat ready strike group is an important component of America’s maritime strategy, defending America’s interests at home and abroad.