Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) completed Tailored Ship’s Training Availability/Final Evaluation Problem (TSTA/FEP) while out to sea in the 3rd Fleet area of operations, Apr. 4.
TSTA/FEP is a multi-phase training assessment of the crew’s operating proficiency.
“TSTA/FEP is a way for us to show our ability to train ourselves,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kamille Pizarro, Vinson’s training officer. “During deployment, we’ll be out there without any outside help, so we have to make sure that we are staying proficient with the people we have.”
As part of TSTA/FEP, embarked members of Afloat Training Group (ATG) assessed Vinson’s ability to integrate with Carrier Strike Group ONE and Carrier Air Wing TWO. ATG also evaluated Vinson’s proficiency during damage control and warfighting evolutions to include shipboard firefighting, simulated man overboard and abandon ship drills, mass casualty evolutions, replenishments-at-sea, administrative reviews and flight operations.
“It was good to get the air wing involved in flight deck familiarization,” said Master Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Jacob Gardner, air department’s training team lead. “They already knew the ship really well, and I was impressed by their knowledge.”
During TSTA/FEP, ATG assessed the various training teams’ ability to work together and handle situations as one multi-faceted unit, coordinated by the Integrated Training Team (ITT).
Organizing and deconflicting the schedule was managed by the ITT coordinator.
“We were, in a sense, managing it [the training availability],” said Pizarro, “but really, it was our training team members on the deckplates alongside our Sailors that made everything happen.”
There are twelve training teams aboard Vinson, and each one had a role to play during TSTA/FEP. Among the largest training teams are air department training team, propulsion plant drill team and the damage control training team (DCTT). DCTT is responsible for training Vinson Sailors to fight casualties that threaten the safety and structural integrity of the ship, such as fires and flooding.
“Regardless of certification events or assessments, I always train my team exactly the same way,” said Chief Damage Controlman Jason Anderson, the DCTT coordinator. “That way, even when we are being assessed, it is already muscle memory. They do it exactly the way they have already been trained to, and they are going to be successful every time.”
Vinson’s completion of TSTA/FEP allows the ship and crew to complete The Basic Phase and transition to the Advanced/Integrated Phase.
“We really showcased what we are capable of and then some,” said Pizarro. “The resilience and mental toughness of our Sailors is something that you have to see to believe. The way the ship comes together is indescribable.”
The ship will next undergo Group Sail as the flagship for CSG-1 and alongside CVW-2 and Destroyer Squadron ONE. Later this year, the Vinson Carrier Strike Group will conduct Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX) as the final part of the Integrated Phase of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan.
The efficacy of Vinson’s training teams, as proven by the crew’s performance during TSTA/FEP, will set the foundation for the ship’s continued success as they approach their upcoming deployment to the 7th Fleet area of operations.