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NNS020723-07 Connie Battle Group Takes on CARGRU-1

Release Date: 7/23/2002 9:47:00 AM

By Journalist Seaman Chad Runge, USS Constellation (CV 64) public Affairs

ON BOARD USS CONSTELLATION, At Sea (NNS) -- The Constellation (CV 64) Battle Group (CBG) is facing a new enemy during this underway period -- but this time the enemy is also a friend.

Carrier Group One (CARGRU-1) Sailors have been on board Constellation, working to make sure the battle group is combat-ready for its next Western Pacific Deployment (WestPac). Through Connie's current underway period, the staff of 57 people will test the battle group in several different battle scenarios by playing the roles of the friendly and hostile countries in a fictional region.

"CARGRU-1 is an organization that's chartered to train battle groups during their inter-deployment training cycle," Rear Adm. Hamlin B. Tallent, CARGRU-1's commander, said. "During COMPTUEX (Composite Training Unit Exercise), CARGRU-1 writes a script that includes enemy ships and battle scenarios and we develop a plan that will enhance the training of the battle group."

If CARGRU-1's objective this underway is to make CBG ready for whatever enemy or enemies it may face on its next WestPac, they are doing just that. Though the destination and objectives for Constellation's next WestPac have not yet been determined, CARGRU-1 has come up with an entire scenario based on current world events, and placed CBG in the middle of it all.

"We meet with battle group staffs and others recently returning from deployment to learn what challenges they faced while they were deployed," Tallent said. "We create a scenario based on what we think the battle group could face during their deployment."

The current scenario has been well thought out and researched, and now Constellation must interact with CARGRU. Their role in COMPUTEX is that of foreign countries in the scenario. They implement their scenario by "virtually" placing ships in the waters around Connie, sending missiles from enemy ships and even sending reinforcements from friendly nations.

"The battle group's initial goal is to prevent tensions from rising," Commander Caroll LeFon, Connie's operation's officer said. "But we'll soon find tensions rising, and the last three days of COMPTUEX is a hot war, which is called the final battle problem."

To place enemy ships, CARGRU-1 actually inserts them into Constellation's radar systems before the signal reaches the monitor. This is the same for the intellegence side of the scenario. The battle group must try to intercept messages from other nations to gain knowledge of their enemies.

"We are responsible for giving the battle group the best training opportunity we can, based on what we know, and prepare them as best we can," Tallent added.

Thus far into COMPTUEX, CBG has faired well against their so-called "enemy," CARGRU-1.

They have fielded every equation thrown at them with quickness and accuracy, regardless of weather conditions and all other obstacles.

"There were some weather issues that had to be overcome, but the battle group showed they had the capability to overcome those," Tallent said. "So far, the Constellation Battle Group is ahead of the power curve. We are expecting good things out of them."

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