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Orange Crush Tests CVW-5's Wartime Capabilities

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050729-10
Release Date: 7/29/2005 4:30:00 PM

By Journalist 3rd Class Christopher Koons, USS Kitty Hawk Public Affairs

USS KITTY HAWK, At Sea (NNS) -- Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, embarked on USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), began an extensive exercise July 18 that aims to test their ability to integrate with other military units in a wartime situation.

Exercise Orange Crush tests all of the air wing’s capabilities by allowing them to conduct operations with other ships in the Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group, as well as Air Force assets based in Guam.

“During Orange Crush, we do everything that we would do during a wartime situation, including air defense exercises, large-scale strikes, search and rescue operations, forward air patrols and alert launches,” said Lt. Cmdr. William Gotten, CVW-5’s assistant operations officer.

Gotten, who is the action officer for Orange Crush, described the exercise as one that emphasizes a seamless integration of forces.

“Being located close to Guam allows us to take advantage of the U.S. military assets in the area,” he said.

According to Gotten, CVW-5 is working with USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), USS Vandegrift (FFG 48), USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) and USS Cowpens (CG 63), as well as Air Force personnel from Andersen Air Force Base during Orange Crush, which is scheduled to last at least two weeks.

This is the third time Orange Crush has been conducted, said Gotten, and it is the largest one so far.

“It gives our pilots a chance to get qualifications they can get only through large-scale exercises, and it gives everyone in the air wing good training on different wartime situations,” he said. “It also allows our helicopter squadrons to practice anti-submarine warfare.”

It took four months to plan the latest Orange Crush due to the scale and complexity of the exercise, which should benefit everyone involved, said Lt. Cmdr. Mike Masica, CVW-5’s strike operations officer.

“It’s a challenge because of all the scenarios we go through,” he said. “We have to be able to integrate in real-time with the other participants, which should allow us to identify areas where we need improvement.”

The objectives of Orange Crush fit in with the overall mission of the "Hawk/5/15" team, said Gotten.

“We’re training on how to project power ashore and at sea any time, any place.

The Kitty Hawk Strike Group is the largest carrier strike group in the Navy and is composed of the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, CVW-5, the guided-missile cruisers USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and USS Cowpens (CG 63), and Destroyer Squadron 15.

Kitty Hawk is the world’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier and is currently operating under direction from the U.S. 7th Fleet. Kitty Hawk remains a vital part of the U.S. commitment to Asia.

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