NORFOLK — The aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman and elements of Carrier Strike Group 8 got underway from here on Friday to take part in a composite unit training exercise and prep for an upcoming “double pump” deployment.
Navy officials say this will be the second COMPTUEX over the past two years and it was scheduled two years ago. The strike group has deployed three times during the past four years.
The COMPTUEX will be an “intensive, month-long exercise designed to fully integrate units,” said Truman Carrier Strike Group spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Jason S. Fisher, in a prepared statement released as the flattop left port.
“Ships, squadrons and staffs will be tested across every core warfare area within their mission sets through a variety of simulated and live events, including air warfare, strait transits, and responses to surface and subsurface contacts and electronic attacks," he added.
As with previous COMPTUEX drills, Fisher said that the strike group will face training scenarios designed to “further build competencies to face whatever a carrier strike group could see on its next deployment.”
Strike group commander Rear Adm. Andrew J. Loiselle added in the release that the warships will confront “real-world scenarios combining live and synthetic training” but did not specify what those tests will mimic.
The strike group includes Carrier Air Wing 1, the guided-missile cruiser Normandy and the guided-missile destroyers Ramage, Forrest Sherman and Farragut.
The COMPTUEX will be administered by Carrier Strike Group 4, whose “trainers, mentors and assessors" will embark with the crews.
Resurrected Norfolk-based 2nd Fleet will oversee the COMPTUEX and determine if the strike group is ready to deploy overseas. That recommendation will go to Fleet Forces commander Adm. Chris Grady.
Second Fleet leaders participated in the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln’s COMPTUEX in late January but wasn’t overseeing the drills.
Stood up last August and declared operational in late May, 2nd Fleet now has control of all East Coast naval forces as they enter their integrated phases of training. That control is likely to continue through any slated deployments or surges until the ship heads back into maintenance, officials say.
“COMPTUEX is by far and away the most challenging training we do,” said 2nd Fleet commander Vice Adm. Andrew “Woody” Lewis in the release. “But it is so important that we challenge ourselves in a secure environment where we are able to manage risk in order to train to the highest level.”
Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.