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Kitty Hawk Concludes Successful Summer Underway Period

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050823-06
Release Date: 8/23/2005 12:04:00 PM

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

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) returned to its forward-deployed operating port of Yokosuka, Japan, Aug. 20, bringing an end to a three-month summer underway period which saw the ship and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 encounter many changes and challenges.

Chief among these challenges were a trio of exercises Kitty Hawk and CVW-5 participated in, along with the rest of the Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15. These were Talisman Saber 2005, the third annual Orange Crush and Joint Air and Sea Exercise (JASEX) 2005.

“All three of these exercises turned out to be very successful,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mike Masica, CVW-5’s assistant operations officer. “They were a lot of hard work.”

Each of the exercises offered the Hawk/5/15 team a chance to practice important capabilities, said Masica.

“Talisman Saber gave us a chance to train with Australian military forces, Orange Crush focused on integrating different parts of the [Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group] together and JASEX tested our ability to operate with different parts of the U.S. Armed Forces, especially the Air Force,” he said.

The most important part of these exercises was the chance for self-examination they offered Kitty Hawk and CVW-5, said Masica.

“They allowed us to examine both what we do really well and highlight areas we need improvement in,” he said. “Because of them, we’re better now at integrating with different assets and operating as one team.”

In addition to these exercises, the Hawk/5/15 team experienced several leadership changes during the course of their summer underway period. Among these were changes of command for Kitty Hawk, CVW-5, DESRON 15 and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5.

Capt. Ed McNamee succeeded Capt. Thomas Parker as Kitty Hawk’s commanding officer June 2. Later that day, Capt. Robert Girrier succeeded Capt. Samuel Perez as head of DESRON 15.

Rear Adm. Doug McClain took over command of CSG-5 from Rear Adm. Jamie D. Kelly July 22, and Capt. Garry Mace succeeded Capt. Joseph Aucoin as CVW-5’s commander July 26.

“The Hawk/5/15 team has responded very well to the new leadership and has kept on going in support of its mission,” said Kitty Hawk Command Master Chief CMDCM (SW) Ashley Smith.

The lengthy summer underway period was also broken up by two port visits. July 3-8, Kitty Hawk visited Sydney, Australia, and July 22-26, Kitty Hawk and CVW-5 Sailors enjoyed liberty in Guam.

“The crew performed very well on liberty in both Sydney and Guam,” said Smith. “They got a chance to relax, sightsee and meet the locals. Everyone enjoyed themselves.”

During the Guam and Sydney visits, many Kitty Hawk and CVW-5 Sailors also took time out of their liberty schedules to go on community service projects sponsored by Kitty Hawk’s religious ministries department.

In Sydney, a total of 186 Sailors went on nine separate projects. In Guam, 179 Sailors went on 11 different projects.

“All of the projects were successful,” said Lt. Deann Coleman, Kitty Hawk’s staff chaplain. “Our Sailors did a lot of hard work to help out the communities in both Sydney and Guam, and the people there were very appreciative.”

The level of participation in the community service projects far exceeded expectations, said Coleman.

“Every project had enough Sailors participating,” said Coleman. “They all enjoyed giving their time to helping others.”

The length of Kitty Hawk’s summer underway period meant that Kitty Hawk and CVW-5 Sailors had to spend weeks at a time at sea, and Smith praised Kitty Hawk’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) division and supply department for providing recreation to alleviate Sailors’ stress.

“MWR and supply both worked hard to provide entertainment to the crew, especially by holding ice cream and karaoke socials,” he said.

Overall, the summer underway period was a great success, said Smith.

“We completed successful exercises, had two good port visits and adapted well to the many changes,” he said. “We were a well-oiled machine.”

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

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