Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Jiang

BREMERTON, Wash. – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) completed Fleet Synthetic Training-Joint Exercise (FST-J), June 5 while in their homeport of Bremerton, Wash.

The weeklong exercise saw JCSSG working together with Navy, Army, Marine and Air Force elements, as well as foreign militaries to complete several simulated scenarios based on real-world events.

“It shows that we are smarter about what activities we must do at sea and what types of training we can simulate ashore,” said Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, commander, John C. Stennis Strike Group. “We get better training value overall and more bang for our underway buck because we will start at a higher level and theoretically should perform much better at sea.”

For seven days JCSSG staffs and units practiced planning and integrating the many ships and aircraft that make up the strike group, all in a virtual joint battlespace.

“FST-J increased our warfighting capabilities and positioned us to gain maximum benefit from follow-on integrated training and certification events, leading to maximum readiness for our upcoming deployment,” said Capt. Robert Chadwick, commodore of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21, part of JCSSG.

The exercise was run by Tactical Training Group Pacific (TACTRAGRUPAC), based in San Diego, and brought all participating assets from around the world together on a virtual network.

“FST-J did a great job integrating the warfighting commanders into the carrier strike group and really highlighted the importance of the striking power that we had,” said Capt. Richard Brophy, commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, part of JCSSG.

Representatives from TACTRAGRUPAC arrived on Stennis prior to the start of the exercise to install the necessary equipment to run the scenarios on Stennis’ combat systems.

“We can do it in the classroom, but this is on our ships, on our aircraft carrier, using the spaces that we will actually be using in our operations overseas,” said Boxall.

Now that the simulated exercise is complete, Stennis and JCSSG are ready for the next phase in pre-deployment training, Composite Training Unit Exercise, or COMPTUEX, where the whole strike group will be underway.

“Part of this exercise is to build understanding and trust,” said Boxall. “I am very proud of our ability to work together across all domains, to include the joint players. I think we are ready to safely and effectively start a solid advanced phase of training underway prior to deployment.”

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