The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) executed an integrated live-fire exercise while underway conducting their composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX), Feb. 21-22.
“This was an opportunity for us to train with the tactics and actual live ordnance we would utilize if a fast moving boat was to attack the strike group,” said Capt. Kevin Kennedy, commodore, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28. “We brought everything together in a live-fire situation where we had to layer the defense of our forces.”
The exercise tested the communication and execution of individual units as they worked together to defend the strike group, including USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1.
“It was impressive to see the execution of the integrated fire from surface ships, fixed wing and rotary assets from the [strike group],” said Cmdr. William Harkin, commanding officer of USS Bulkeley. “Our ability to find, fix and target multiple threats and effectively deploy a significant amount of ordnance should concern any adversary we face.”
Individual units have been training for the exercise over the last couple months, while the planning for the event itself has been in progress for almost a year.
“It has been about a year long process establishing the criteria, training objectives and safeties that needed to be in place,” added Kennedy. “The last three to four months, the ships and aircraft that were going to be participating used synthetic trainers going through the scenarios, so we could see it synthetically before we did it live and safe.”
While the exercise was completed in a matter of hours, the results of it will have a lasting impact on future tactics and similar evolutions.
“There are few and far-between exercises, like this one, we get to do that we are able to get a lot of great lessons out of,” added Kennedy. “These lessons are going to go right back into developing future tactics for the fleet.”
COMPTUEX is the final stage of pre-deployment workups for the strike group. For USS Harry S. Truman, the evolution caps off more than seven months of training to ensure the ship and crew are ready to deploy.