Archives for category: John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group

USS JOHN C STENNIS, At Sea (Dec. 13, 2012) – The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Dec. 13 as part of a USO Holiday Tour.

The Chairman, U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, met with Stennis leadership, observed daily operations, and addressed the crew during an all-hands call in the hangar bay about the importance of Stennis’ presence in the Arabian Gulf.

“It was a distinct privilege to bring the USO Holiday Tour to the John C. Stennis Sailors,” said Dempsey. “All of the entertainers joined me in saying thank you to the Sailors of Stennis for their magnificent service and sacrifice for our nation. We are proud of these great Sailors and their families today, through the holidays and always.”

The USO holiday show featured six-time USO performer and country singer Kellie Pickler, comedian Ilizia Shlesinger, Washington Nationals pitchers Ross Detwiler and Craig Stammen, and Washington Capitals forward Matt Hendricks.

Aerographer’s Mate 2nd Class Kristen Leonhardt, from Huntington, Ind. said the visit was positive reinforcement from senior military leadership about the significance of Stennis’ mission in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation.

“It reminded me that my service is important and of how proud I am to serve,” said Leonhardt.

After the performance, Sailors had a chance to meet with Dempsey and the entertainers in the hangar bays and aft mess decks.

“It was great to see the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff take time out of his busy schedule to come see us,” said Master-at-Arms 1st class Brandon Weant from Vancouver, Wash.

The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, consisting of Stennis, Carrier Air Wing 9, Destroyer Squadron 21, and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) are forward deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to strengthen regional partnerships, sustain maritime security, and support combatant commander requirements for assets in the area.

(Photo)

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey speaks to the crew in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during a USO sponsored holiday tour. The tour featured six time USO entertainer and country music singer Kellie Pickler; Washington Nationals pitchers Ross Detwiler and Craig Stammen; Washington Capitals forward Matt Hendricks and comedian Iliza Shlesinger. -Photo By Chelsey Alamania


By USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Public Affairs

USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea — USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG) entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), Sept. 15.

JCSCSG will be joining USS George H.W. Bush Strike Group, already in the 5th Fleet AOR. An overlap of carrier deployments provides additional naval and air capabilities to conduct maritime security operations and theater security cooperation engagements, as well as provide support to operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom.

“Our strike group has trained countless hours to ensure our Sailors are ready to conduct operations in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility,” said Rear Adm. Craig Faller, commander, JCSCSG. “We look forward to building upon and strengthening our ties with allies and coalition partners in the region while supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

John C. Stennis departed its homeport of Bremerton, Wash., July 25, sailing south to embark Carrier Air Wing 9 and Destroyer Squadron 21 staff. JCSCSG departed San Diego with the balance of the strike group transiting across the Pacific Ocean and engaged in theater security cooperation in the western Pacific Ocean and South China Sea before continuing on to 5th Fleet.

JCSCSG includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53). The embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 includes Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 14, (VFA) 41, (VFA) 97, (VFA) 192; Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112; Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 133; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8; Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71; and Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30. More than 6,000 Sailors are assigned to JCSCSG.


JCS Public Affairs

High winds and seas led the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG) to cancel the scheduled port visit in Manila.

“We regret not being able to visit our long standing partners, families and friends, but the weather just didn’t cooperate. We agreed with the advice from the Filipino Coast Guard that conditions were too dangerous,” said USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Commanding Officer, Capt. Ronald Reis.

Stennis was originally scheduled to arrive in Manila Saturday but had to reschedule to Sunday in hopes that weather would improve. As Typhoon Mina lingered over the Philippines the visit was officially cancelled.

“We have a long standing alliance with the Philippines and we looked forward to our visit but safety is always a priority for us,” said Commander, JCSCSG Rear Adm. Craig Faller.

The JCSCSG is comprised of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21, which includes guided-missile destroyers, USS Pinckney (DDG 91); USS Kidd (DDG 100); USS Dewey (DDG 105); and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108).

The embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 on board John C. Stennis includes Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 14, (VFA) 41, (VFA) 97, (VFA) 192; Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112; Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8; Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71; and Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30.

JCSCSG will continue on its scheduled deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet and 5th Fleet areas of responsibility, which includes the western Pacific Ocean and Arabian Gulf. John C. Stennis’ last deployment to 7th Fleet was in 2009.

Story by MC1 Grant Ammon
Photo by MC2 Josue Escobosa

The ships of the USS John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) commenced an undersea warfare exercise (USWEX) in the Hawaiian operating area Aug. 8 as part of the strike groups final test and evaluation before arriving in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) and western Pacific Ocean.

Exercises like this are conducted several times throughout the year in the waters near Hawaii for maritime commanders to asses the undersea warfare capabilities of deploying strike groups.

“We’re taking part in an undersea warfare exercise as directed by the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet,” said Master Chief Sonar Technician (Surface) Lucas Stiles, an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) analyst assigned to the Commander Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21. “This is an assessed ASW scenario involving a multitude of oppositional submarines that is designed to test our ability to move the carrier strike group into a specific operating area and establish ASW dominance.”

Conducting undersea warfare exercises in the Hawaiian operating area proves to be a beneficial training endeavor due to the readily available training ranges and the presence of ASW units and capabilities in the region, said Stiles.

“Training exercises like this one are invaluable to developing our core competencies within the strike group,” noted Stiles. “Operating in the Hawaiian area of operations ensures numerous ASW resources and training ranges are available for us to utilize. It really provides the strike group with a realistic training scenario.”

Providing a critical piece to JCS’ undersea warfare capabilities are the “Raptors” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71.

“The air assets and capabilities provided by HSM-71 are our only airborne organic ASW measure in the strike group,” said Lt. Sarah Sherrod, the Air Operations Officer for DESRON 21. “If we’re operating in blue water with no external support, they are all ASW capabilities we have in the air.

Aerographer’s Mate 2nd Class Tonia Wilson, a watch stander in the DESRON 21 ASW cell aboard Stennis, has the unique responsibility of using her knowledge of science and oceanography to predict the location of oppositional forces under the water.

“We run ASW range predictions for oceanography from here and all of us assist with the detection and counter detection of submarines,” she said.

According to Wilson, the training provided before deployment contributed to her overall watchstanding effectiveness during this scenario.

“We really learned a lot during the exercises leading up to deployment and this training scenario,” noted Wilson. “We built a very good rapport and working relationship with all the units across the strike group.”

Taking over a Strike Group-Preparing for Deployment

Commander, John C. Stennis Strike GroupJohn C. Stennis (CVN 74) and the Carrier Strike Group Three team completed a demanding and fast paced exercise designed to prepare us for the full range of missions from war to port visits. Operating in a training environment the Carrier Strike Group Three team unleashed the firepower and lethality of the United States Navy on a simulated enemy.

The Carrier Strike Group Three team of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), Carrier Air Wing Nine (CVW-9) consisting of VFA-14 “Tophatters”, VFA-41 “Black Aces”, VFA-97 “Warhawks”, VFA-192 “Golden Dragons”, VAQ-133 “Wizards”, VAW-112 “Golden Hawks”, HSC-8 “Eightballers”, HSM-71 “Raptors”, and Destroyer Squadron Two One (DESRON 21) consisting of USS Dewey (DDG 105), USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), USS Kidd (DDG 100) opposed notional enemy forces in the air, on the land, and on and under the sea and achieved all training objectives. The DESRON 21 team successfully found and attacked submarines. CVW-9 conducted punishing strikes ashore, along with air defense and war at sea strikes against enemy surface ships – all with precise effects. This realistic and demanding training will ensure we are combat ready for any future mission. Combat readiness demands hard work, teamwork and trust.

This combat readiness begins with each individual Sailor on our Strike Group team. A mission first mindset demands that each member of the team know themselves and their job. Each individual must be prepared – physically, mentally, morally and professionally. Exercises like the one just completed hone individual skills and forge us into a war fighting team. Teamwork wins. In our recently completed exercise we demonstrated that we are ready. But readiness is an everyday habit – executing today and preparing for tomorrow through continuous improvement are what has made our Navy the best. We can’t rest.

The great Sailors and the families of Strike Group Three represent the best of our Navy’s global force for good. We are war fighters and we must be ready.

WELL DONE!
RDML Craig Faller
Commander, John C. Stennis Strike Group


Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Carla Ocampo
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Benjamin Crossley

USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG) completed a successful Joint Task Force Training Exercise (JTFEX) June 8 off the coast of Southern California.

“Our crew could not have performed better,” said John C. Stennis Commanding Officer Capt. Ron Reis. “It was through top down bottom up leadership intertwined with a collective sea warrior spirit that we consistently perform at such a high level. Sailors aboard Stennis are trained and ready to meet national tasking. Teamwork, superior skills and warfighting ethos will enable us to successfully meet any challenge we may confront during deployment.”

JTFEX is the second major training evolution for Stennis following Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) in May.

JCSCSG is made up of John C. Stennis, CVW-9 (Carrier Air Wing 9), guided missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), and DESRON 21; guided missile destroyers USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Dewey (DDG 105), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Pinckney (DD G91).

JTFEX was a week-long exercise designed to test JCSCSG’s ability to operate in a hostile environment.

Throughout JTFEX, JCSCSG dealt with an assortment of simulated attacks, such as torpedoes and missile attacks from enemy aircraft and ships. General quarters was called depending on the response needed.

“The idea of JTFEX is to stress the importance of procedures and planned responses to certain threats and get into a tactical mind-set,” said Lt. Ji Theriot, one of Stennis’ tactical action officers.

JTFEX tested the capability of JCSCG to operate with multinational forces and other military branches in a joint environment to combat the simulated threats.

“The scenario was started where we left off during COMPTUEX,” said Operations Specialist Master Chief (SW/AW) Brian Basset, operations department leading chief petty officer. “We continued to focus on our role in a joint environment while conducting sea combat operations.”

The constant flux of drills kept Sailors directly involved on alert and busy throughout the six- day exercise.

“JTFEX was packed with action, we were constantly moving,” said Theriot. “Problems operated around the clock, which was more realistic than the previous exercise.”

JTFEX was the final test JCSCSG had to demonstrate they can act and react as a cohesive fighting unit.

“We are ready for anything, but we need to continue to do better at everything we do,” said Stennis’ Executive Officer Capt. Michael Wettlaufer. “Continuous training is required to maintain readiness throughout deployment in order to be ready to do the nation’s bidding.”

With JTFEX complete, JCSCSG is ready for the upcoming deployment to the Western Pacific and Central Command areas of operation to conduct maritime security operations.

“JCS Strike Group Sailors have performed exceedingly well during JTFEX. I am extremely proud of everyone’s efforts as we faced a complex battle problem; without a doubt the most challenging scenario presented to any Carrier Strike Group,” said Commander, John C. Stennis Strike Group Rear Adm. Craig Faller. “These events put us through our paces in a short period of time. In the end we proved that we are combat ready, prepared to take the fight to the enemy, and assist those in need across the globe. This would not have been possible if it weren’t for the focused efforts of all hands and solid deckplate leadership.”


Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Benjamin Crossley
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Crishanda McCall

John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG) and its crew of more than 5000 Sailors began Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) and final deployment preparations June 2.

JTFEX is an integrated battle force exercise designed to test the capabilities of carrier strike groups operating with multinational forces in a joint environment. It is the culmination of a series of exercises and training requirements conducted in preparation for upcoming deployment and readies the strike group for any challenge it may face while deployed.

Stennis finished composite unit training exercise (COMPTUEX), which was the biggest preparation for JTFEX, at the end of May.

“The exercise itself will be one continuous war time problem,” said Cmdr. Stevin Johnson, the strike operations officer. “We will continue where we left off of COMPTUEX and try to resolve the conflict in the joint operating area. The training will continue focus on our role in a joint environment while conducting sea combat operations.”

The cooperation that goes into this exercise comes from warfare commanders working together during operational interaction according to Johnson.

Upon successful completion of JTFEX, Stennis will be certified for the upcoming deployment to the Western Pacific and Central Command areas of operation to conduct maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, helping establish conditions for regional stability.

JCSCSG consists of CVW-9, guided missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), and DESRON 21; guided missile destroyers USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Dewey (DDG 105), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91).


Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Carla Ocampo
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Timothy Aguirre

The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG) completed a successful Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) May 27 off the coast of Southern California.

COMPTUEX, a three week exercise required for each carrier strike group, and designed to drill every warfare area from sub surface, surface and air to practice responses to situations that may occur while on deployment.

JCSCSG is made up of John C. Stennis, CVW-9, guided missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), and DESRON 21; guided missile destroyers USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Dewey (DDG 105), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91).

“We all came together at the beginning of COMPTUEX as individual operating elements, and combined the forces into an effective strike group that is ready to deploy,” said Cmdr. Stevin Johnson, strike operations officer.

This is the first time the strike group has worked together since last deployment.

Embarked Strike Force Training Pacific evaluators mentored the JCSCSG on integrated operational capabilities through a series of simulations.

Stennis simulated strait transits with other ships from the strike group; conducted multi-mission air wing operations; participated in replenishments at sea; and ran many shipboard drills.

“Like any evolution you have to meet certain requirements before you can get the grade of satisfactory,” said Johnson.

Unit specific training allowed the separate strike group assets to practice their roles individually, while other situations reinforced the strike group’s ability to integrate and operate as a single force.

“As a strike group we have gotten much better at coordinating our efforts and achieving the desired goal through a united front rather than individual warfare commanders,” said Johnson.

With COMPTUEX complete, JCSCSG will begin a Joint Training Force Exercise.

“This is just the next step to a higher level of training and readiness for JCSCSG,” said Johnson. “Next, we roll right into JTFEX and continue the same training we’re doing right now but in a more complicated scenario.

COMPTUEX and JTFEX prepared Stennis and the JCSCG for the upcoming deployment last this year.

“COMPTUEX has equipped our Sailors to meet world-wide challenges in a safe and professional manner,” said John C. Stennis Commanding Officer Capt. Ron Reis. “It has given our crew the confidence and knowledge to be able to execute mission requirements during deployment; from humanitarian relief efforts to dealing with piracy or warfare in any region of the world.”

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lex T. Wenberg
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin Murphy

During the Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), ships in a unit such as the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG) are subjected to complex training tests.

Among the assessments of COMPTUEX are the Green, Blue and Red Team assessments of computer network security aboard JCSCSG’s flagship USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).

During Green, Blue and Red Team’s embarkation, Stennis’ network security enforcers, Information Assurance (IA), will be graded on their capabilities.

Ensuring responsible use of the ship’s computer network by the crew is just one of IA’s jobs. They are also responsible to the Commanding Officer for defending our networks against outside attacks.

“We develop and maintain a Command Level IA program to provide adequate security for all associated assets,” said Ensign Joseph Jones, Stennis’ Information Assurance Manager.

Green Team is the first of the three assessments where a group of security specialists embark and inspect the network for vulnerabilities. Green Team also gives recommendations to the ship for actions which IA can take to strengthen network security.

“Green Team is responsible for helping us see things we overlooked,” said Information Systems Technician 1st Class (SW/ AW) Eric Ebe. “This helps us root out security risks.”

Having completed the initial assessment, Green Team’s recommendations are already being implemented.

“During Green Team’s assessment, we saw iTunes installed on computers as well as other software,” said Ebe. “This type of software is not authorized on the ship’s computer network, so we got rid of it.”

What is supposed to be the next phase of the testing, called Blue Team, is almost identical to Green Team, but the results of the assessment carry far more weight. Blue Team has been postponed until June, said Information Systems Technician 1st Class (SW) Brandon Manning, IA’s current LPO.

“We had to jump right into the Red Team assessment due to time constraints,” said Manning.

Assuming the ship performs well for Red Team, a group of ethical hackers who will test network security procedures and attempt to exploit vulnerabilities and give the network a general work-over, the next step will be Blue Team.

“Some of the questions we ask ourselves between drills are: did we accomplish what Green Team asked us to?” said Ebe. “Were we able to make the changes fast enough? Red and Blue Team will evaluate our successes.”

The entire crew is involved in these phased assessments, said Jones.

“My request for the crew is not about the upcoming assessments,” said Jones. “It’s about what we need to do on a daily operational basis: do not install unauthorized software or hardware, stay away from porn sites, do not open suspicious e-mails that have attachments or links, no electronic spillage, etc. Everyone on the ship signed a SAAR-N form for access to the network, so please adhere to it.”

Failure to meet the standards of Blue Team’s assessment can mean a loss of connection to the Global Information Grid.

“That means no e-mail, no web browsing, no share drive, and no comms,” said Ebe. “Nothing.”

“This is the final assessment and will be the final condition we have to meet before deployment,” said Ebe.

Since communication is essential to any sea-going vessel, particularly the flagship of a carrier strike group, both IA and the rest of Stennis’ crew must be vigilant when it comes to proper network security.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dugan Flynn
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate

Sailors with Strike Force Training Pacific (SFTP) have come aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) to assist with Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) by training and mentoring JCSCSG Sailors on possible scenarios they may face on the upcoming deployment.

SFTP trains Sailors by analyzing methods in which the strike group deals with different situations, finding weaknesses in the strike group’s war fighting capabilities, and showing ways in which the strike group can improve.

“SFTP provides Fleet Commanders with combat ready maritime forces through integrated training, mentorship and assessment at sea,” said Commander Strike Force Training Pacific, Rear Adm. Thomas Cropper. “In pursuit of tactical excellence, we conduct composite warfare scenarios employing best practices to successfully operate against evolving threats in the contested battle space.”

SFTP sends analysts aboard ships with experiences they’ve gained from previous deployments to construct battle problems in order to share those experiences with others.

“We look at what a country would actually do when we’re about 12 nautical miles out from that area and try to apply that to actual exercises,” said Cryptologic Technician(Technical) 2nd Class (SW) Nick Fugate. “We try to make the scenarios feel as realistic as possible. That way the crew has already seen that country’s reaction to their presence and knows how to handle it. There’s still going to be some surprises, you can’t really train for real life, but we try to make it as real as possible.”

SFTP provides a glimpse of the big picture using all sources available for everyone’s knowledge said Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Cam Wiseman.

“We provide a complete understanding of what’s going on, so the decision makers can make decisions based on what they know,” said Wiseman. “We’re trying to help the senior leadership figure out, should we strike that? Should we send our forces in to deal with that situation, whether or not we should drop bombs on targets, or just continue on. We’re trying to help them get the most accurate picture possible, to make the best decisions possible.”

Members of SFTP look at areas of deficiency and do their best to help the crew understand the problems so the ship’s own crewmembers can correct potential problems themselves before they reach deployment.

“Nobody likes being told they might be doing something wrong,” said Wiseman. “It’s tough, so we have to do it in a way where they’re open to receive it. We try to get the crew to think for themselves so they can make a decision on their own. We’re just trying to be as helpful as possible.”

Cropper went on to say with the guidance of SFTP, the Stennis crew has already shown improvements in many areas.

“Stennis has performed remarkably well in many mission areas,” said Cropper. “They have also greatly improved in areas where they were not as strong in the beginning. The ship and airwing team had some of the best performance in night carrier operations that we have seen in the last eight COMPTUEXs. This has not come easily. The hard work to prepare for operations at sea by all hands, the superb planning by Carrier Destroyer Squadron 21, Carrier Airwing Nine and Stennis leadership, and the tremendous focus on safe and professional execution by your strike group’s commanders and commanding officers made the difference.”

COMPTUEX prepares Sailors, staff, and commanders to go forward and meet any challenge, said Cropper. SFTP plays a vital role in that preparation to give the crew the confidence and knowledge to deal with any scenario while on deployment, from humanitarian relief efforts to dealing with piracy or warfare in any region of the world.

%d bloggers like this: