Story and photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Benjamin Crossley

John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group simulated a strait transit May 13 off the coast of Southern California.

The simulation was planned by Commander, Strike Force Training Pacific (CSFTP) as a part of a composite unit training exercise (COMPTUEX).

“We scheduled an exercise encompassing the air wing, destroyers and the carrier strike group in order to test the individual units’ tactics and procedures,” said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Toriello, assistant intelligence officer for CSFTP. “The test is also an observation of the staffs’ integration with various components of the entire strike group.”

A normal strait transit is planned well in advance and is a coordination between intelligence, operations, navigation, weapons, media and the entire strike group, said Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Cam Wiseman, an observer with CSFTP and mentor to the Ship’s Nautical or Otherwise Photographic Interpretation and Examination (SNOOPIE) team and Carrier Intelligence Center (CVIC).

During the simulation, CSFTP organized with Operation Forces, a government contractor, in coordinating a series of small boats to antagonize the strike group. As the ship delt with the potential threats, CSFTP assessed the individual units and the strike group as a whole.

“We saw good defensive measures taken by ships and aircraft to protect the strike group using techniques and procedures that the strike group has not been able to practice since the last deployment,” said Toriello. “Many team elements went well and were done right.”

As helicopters attempted to deter small boats, the ships maintained a defensive posture and assessed the potential dangers of each vessel using real time intelligence, said Wiseman.

Toriello called the experience beneficial to the complete strike group. All ships need to understand and recognize the difference between a threatening fast attack craft and an illicit, non-threatening smuggler, which is a possibility on the high seas of Fifth and Seventh fleet, he said.

“Our training is SECNAV directed for certification for the carrier strike group for global operations,” said Toriello. “Without the certification, carriers cannot deploy.”

This was the initial assessment of the carrier strike group’s teamwork and capabilities.

“We saw a lot of potential and some room for improvement as expected with the first true exercise of the strait transit scenario,” said Toriello.

As COMPTUEX continues, CSFTP will continue to ready Sailors of the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group for upcoming deployment.

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