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NNS020402-07 USS George Washington Battle Group Begins Use of Vieques Inner Range

Release Date: 4/2/2002 4:46:00 PM

By U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command Public Affairs

VIEQUES, Puerto Rico (NNS) -- Ships and aircraft of the USS George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Battle Group commenced use of the Vieques Island inner range in conjunction with their Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX). The exercise, which began April 1, will also utilize the Northern and Southern Puerto Rican Operating Areas and will involve complex battle group training events, naval surface fire support training and air-to-ground bombing.

COMPTUEX is an intermediate level battle group exercise designed to forge the Battle Group into a cohesive, fighting team.

Conducted by the commander of Carrier Group 4, Rear Adm. Lindell Rutherford, it is a critical step in the pre-deployment training cycle and a prerequisite for the battle group's Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX), scheduled for later this month. Successful completion of COMPTUEX also certifies the carrier and its embarked air wing as qualified for open-ocean operations.

In accordance with presidential directives, all training on Vieques will utilize inert (non-explosive) ordnance.

The George Washington Battle Group is commanded by Rear Adm. Joseph A. Sestak Jr. Units participating in COMPTUEX include USS George Washington (CVN 73) with Carrier Air Wing 17 and Destroyer Squadron 26 embarked; guided-missile cruisers USS Normandy (CG 60) and USS Monterey (CG 61); guided-missile destroyers USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Laboon (DDG 58) and USS Mahan (DDG 72); destroyer USS Arthur W. Radford (DD 968), guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59), attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) and oiler USNS Supply (T-AOE 6).

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