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Kennedy Strike Group Now Surge-Ready

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS040406-13

Release Date: 4/6/2004 3:11:00 PM

By Journalist 2nd Class Tyce Velde, USS John F. Kennedy Public Affairs

ABOARD USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (NNS) -- The USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) Carrier Strike Group (JFK CSG) is helping the Navy forge a new path into the future. JFK CSG, which completed its month-long Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) March 17 with a port visit to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., is the first strike group to fully start its training under the new Fleet Response Plan.

The JFK CSG used the Training Resource Strategy (TRS) to conduct their COMPTUEX. TRS uses existing East Coast and Gulf of Mexico ranges, and improved training technologies, to simulate combat training.

During phase one, the strike group learned to fight together as a cohesive unit, battling individual surface, air and sub-surface threats. After leaving Fort Lauderdale March 5, the Kennedy Strike Group entered the Gulf of Mexico to complete phase two of the crucial training exercise. The move marked the first time a carrier strike group has conducted a planned training exercise in the Gulf of Mexico. During phase two, the strike group fought against multiple simultaneous threats.

"Phase two of COMPTUEX is a training series where the individual events are connected and accelerated," said Rear Adm. Donald K. Bullard, JFK strike group commander.

"The varied training range sites and constricted air space give the training more realism than past training ranges," said Cmdr. Jim Webb, commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 81. "When we go overseas, we work in different air spaces and different countries. We have a lot of constraints on how we get in and out of the ranges. This training we're getting in COMPTUEX is a lot more like what we'll actually be doing on cruise."

COMPTUEX culminated in the final battle problem, a two-to-three day showdown between the strike group and a large enemy force, including frigates, aircraft and a diesel submarine. The result of the final battle problem is surge readiness qualification for Kennedy Strike Group, said Bullard.

"Now that we're out of this exercise, we're in a surge-ready status," he said. "We will maintain this readiness for up to a year to 14 months. This sets the baseline for the next 14 months, where we're at the president's beck and call."

The following surface and sub-surface vessels comprise the JFK CSG: the Mayport, Fla.-based ships USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) - the strike group's flagship, commanded by Capt. Ronald H. Henderson; the guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG 69); the guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80); the destroyer USS Spruance (DD 963); the Earle, N.J.-based fast combat support ship USS Seattle (AOE 3); the Groton, Conn.-based attack submarine USS Toledo (SSN 769); and the Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.-based Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, commanded by Capt. Mark D. Guadagnini, embarked aboard John F. Kennedy.

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