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Essex Aces Tailored Ship's Training Availability & Final Evaluation Period

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070319-07
Release Date: 3/19/2007 12:32:00 PM

From USS Essex Public Affairs

SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- USS Essex (LHD 2) successfully completed a Tailored Ship’s Training Availability (TSTA) and Final Evaluation Problem (FEP) during an at-sea period March 11–15 off the coast of Sasebo, Japan.

FEP is an annual evaluation by Afloat Training Group Western Pacific (ATGWP) which demonstrates a ship’s ability to conduct multiple simultaneous combat missions and survive complex casualty situations under stressful conditions.

“In my opinion, Essex is the best in the FDNF [Forward Deployed Naval Forces],” said Lt. Anthony D. Pangjogie, ATGWP training liaison officer.

ATGWP evaluators embarked Essex on March 11 to assess and grade the ship's ability to conduct integrated training events.

“When put in real world situations, the type commander can be more confident assigning Essex critical tasks,” said Pangjogie.

FEP was the final step before Essex completed the basic phase of training. The type commander is responsible for the training criteria, mainly focusing on basic command and control, weapons employment, mobility (navigation, seamanship, damage control, engineering and flight operations) and warfare specialty. By passing FEP, Essex has proven her warfighting readiness.

“I am extremely proud of the hard work and exceptional performance our Sailors and Marines displayed during FEP,” said Capt. Brian T. Donegan, Essex commanding officer. "Most importantly, I am pleased that Essex was able to achieve this level of performance by integrating realistic and challenging training into our daily routine. As part of the FDNF we are obligated to maintain peak operational readiness at all times."

ATGWP had never seen a ship go so far "into the green" as Essex did during TSTA/FEP, exceeding objectives during an evaluated training cycle. From the start of the Basic Training Phase, to FEP; ESSEX increased its readiness by 12.5 percent, a tremendous accomplishment considering the high FDNF operational tempo, said ATGWP evaluators.

FEP stressed Essex by imposing events that required every training team and watch team to demonstrate proficiency over several days. A continuous scenario flexed the ship's response to challenges ranging from simultaneous small boat and aircraft attack to underway replenishment and man overboard drills, to complex and cascading damage control situations.

The requirement to significantly challenge Essex's comprehensive and extremely capable damage control organization drove a large part of FEP scenario. The ship's Damage Control Training Team (DCTT) is responsible to ensure all repair party personnel are knowledgeable in the fundamental theory and systems aspects of damage control and are capable of comprehending the symptoms and impact of impending casualties on the ship.

“All repair lockers were extremely proficient in fighting the casualties and showed that they are some of the best in the fleet,” said Chief Hull Technician (SW) David Forrest, Essex’s DCTT leader. “This is essential to the mission because the response time for a casualty has a massive effect on how they are fought and whether the ship must go to general quarters.”

Essex is the only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship and serves Task Force 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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