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Enterprise Heads for Home After Final Summer Pulse Exercise

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS040720-06
Release Date: 7/20/2004 12:00:00 PM

By Journalist 3rd Class Sara Omo, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

ABOARD USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Enterprise (CVN 65) (Big E) is heading home after successfully completing the multinational maritime exercise MEDSHARK/Majestic Eagle '04 (MS/ME04) July 16, ending the carrier's final major exercise of Summer Pulse '04.

"Majestic Eagle was extremely successful," said Operations Officer Capt. John Lockler. "Based on the Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet priorities, I think that this exercise exceeded all expectations. For this exercise, we demonstrated interoperability between 30 ships and aircraft, hosted dozens of distinguished visitors, and we worked through a full schedule of exercise events. All of this went very well."

Enterprise joined allied forces from Morocco, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom, bringing together 20,000 forces and 30 ships for MS/ME04. During the exercise, Big E hosted 50 distinguished visitors, including high-ranking military officials from Spain, Morocco and the United Kingdom, as well as 49 international media personnel. The two top commanders of Strike Force NATO, Vice Adm. Harry Ulrich, and Strike Force NATO Deputy Commander British Royal Navy Rear Adm. Paul Boissier, also embarked on Enterprise, welcomed the visitors, many of whom led forces involved in MS/ME04.

"Majestic Eagle was an overwhelming success," said Combat Systems Officer Cmdr. Mark Sanford, who also served as an escort for Moroccan visitors the first day of the exercise. "I think that we learned a lot about ourselves and a lot about our allies. We overcame many obstacles, such as communications between our allies, many of whom Enterprise had never worked with before. We also got the opportunity to use different communications that we normally would not use."

Enterprise and NATO allies demonstrated interoperability between multinational ships and aircraft, including four aircraft carriers, during MS/ME04.

"We had 30 ships in all, and 14 of them joined us in a close formation for a battlegroup photo on July 12," said Lockler. "We also coordinated every single movement of the aircraft between all of the allies into one common product."

During MS/ME04, Enterprise and NATO participants were the first to use the weapons range in Morocco in several years.

"Unfortunately, the weather prevented the air wing from dropping as much ordnance as we had hoped," said Combat Direction Center Officer Cmdr. Mike Burrell. "But we still had valuable training, using real opposition from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) to play various scenarios with us, and the Spanish and Italian carriers."

MS/ME04 was the final of three major exercises that Enterprise completed during Summer Pulse '04. After departing its homeport of Norfolk, Va., Enterprise Carrier Strike Group began the deployment with the NATO training exercise Neo Tapon, hosted by Spain, that tested allied surface warfare, air warfare and strike mission capabilities. Enterprise's second exercise, the Joint Maritime Course (JMC), was sponsored by the United Kingdom, and allowed Enterprise to work in a NATO environment, operating jointly with allies to strengthen maritime capabilities.

"We accomplished our goal for Summer Pulse," said Sanford. "Neo Tapon was a little rough. Everyone had to learn how to work together in a new environment. During JMC, we refined our skills that we had learned, and by the time we moved to Majestic Eagle, everything went smoothly."

Through the course of these NATO training exercises, Enterprise validated the Chief of Naval Operations' Fleet Response Plan, proving the capability to deploy multiple carrier strike groups; the ability to prepare and provide support for the strategic, regional engagement and operational requirements of combatant commands; and demonstrated scalable naval power and the ability to operate jointly with allies to strengthen maritime capabilities. Enterprise expects to return to homeport at the end of July.

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