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Nimitz Strike Group WESTPAC 17 Deployment
CVN-68 Nimitz
"Teamwork - A Tradition"

The United States is sending a third aircraft carrier strike force to the western Pacific region in an apparent warning to North Korea to deter its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. The USS Nimitz, one of the worlds largest warships, will join two other supercarriers, the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Ronald Reagan, in the western Pacific. The US military has rarely simultaneously deployed three aircraft carriers to the same region.

Aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Sailors successfully completed Tailored Ship's Training Availability and Final Evaluation Problem (TSTA/FEP) Dec. 8, completing the ship's 180-day, Inter-deployment Training Cycle Basic Phase in only 54 days. TSTA/FEP was completed in a total of 30 in-port and underway days, a major step toward Nimitz becoming certified for its upcoming 2017 deployment. According to Cmdr. Wilbert Wafford, Afloat Training Group (ATG) Pacific training liaison officer, Nimitz completed basic phase with an overall score of 97 percent. TSTA is the final part of a ship's Basic Phase Training Cycle, which includes Command Assessment of Readiness and Training (CART) II, and TSTA in-port. It is the first step in proving a crew's readiness for Composite Training Exercise (COMPTUEX) and other exercises which test a ship's proficiency before deployment.

TSTA/FEP exercises most major warfare areas aboard, including damage control, engineering, navigation, deck, combat systems, air, safety, intelligence, supply, operations, and security. It also integrates the air wing in order to build proficiency on the flight deck. To assess the crew, ATG inspectors review different Training Assessment Cards (TACs) with the crew to inspect their performance on pertinent tactical functions. The TSTA/FEP drills are designed to test the crew, watchstanders, and the integration of various entities throughout Nimitz. Successful completion proves to ATG the ship is ready to move on to more intricate training in the ship's work-up cycle.

Although the different warfare areas were tested on their individual roles and most of the scenarios affected a small portion of the crew at a time, there were major evolutions such as man overboard, abandon ship, and general quarters drills which tested every Sailor aboard as a whole.

After the completion of TSTA, Nimitz and her crew moved onto FEP, the final stage of the Basic Phase Training Cycle. "FEP is the culmination of basic phase training, and evaluates the ship's ability to conduct combat missions, support functions, and survive complex casualty control situations," said Lt. Cmdr. Derek S. Waisanen, Nimitz's training officer. "FEP provides ATG the opportunity to evaluate 'Team Nimitz's' readiness, as well as its ability to sustain readiness through self-training."

Aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) successfully completed the final phase of testing conducted by the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV), the Material Inspection, one day earlier than expected in San Diego, 16 February 2017. INSURV is a congressionally-mandated inspection of U.S. Navy ships. The inspection is a thorough check of the ship's material condition to ensure mission readiness. INSURVs are typically conducted every five years aboard Navy ships. Nimitz's last inspection was completed in 2010.

The conclusion of INSURV had shown Nimitz is up to the Navy's standard of material readiness and is one step closer to her 2017 deployment. Nimitz would undergo Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) in the upcoming months. COMPTUEX tests the mission readiness of the strike group's assets through simulated real-world scenarios, and their ability to work together as a cohesive unit to complete the mission.

Nimitz is a high value asset within the strike group. When the strike group transits a strait as a whole, it is in a much higher protective posture than normal. The smaller ships in the strike group act as the first level of engagement if anything out of the ordinary were to happen. The helicopters are there to be the eye in the sky and provide support. The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) participated in a show of force transit training exercise with Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11 off the coast of Southern California, 31 March 2017. CSG 11 conducted the exercise as part of Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) to prepare for moving through narrow passageways of water during its upcoming 2017 deployment.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Chafee (DDG 90), USS Howard (DDG 83), USS Pinckney (DDG 91) and USS Kidd (DDG 100), and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), all ships from DESRON 9, participated in the exercise with Nimitz. Helicopters were also provided from the "Wolf Pack" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75 and the "Eightballers" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 from Carrier Air Wing 11. The aim of the exercise is to help all participating Sailors from CSG 11 understand what the environment will be like as they move through straits in foreign territories.

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