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Pierside Training Helps Ready Fleet

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Story Number: NNS090626-21
Release Date: 6/26/2009 4:35:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Krishna Jackson, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet certified Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG) ready to deploy after completing Fleet Synthetic Training, Joint (FST-J) June 19.

"This is the first time synthetic training has been integrated into the Third Fleet's deployment training cycle," said Capt. William J. Hart, 3rd Fleet lead training officer.

USS Nimitz (CVN 68) along with CSG 11, USS Chosin (CG 65), USS Sampson (DDG 102), USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Rentz (FFG 46) and two independent deployers, USS Higgins (DDG 76) and USS Ingraham (FFG 61), received high-tech training while pier-side by Tactical Training Group, Pacific (TTGP) and Commander, Strike Force Training Pacific (CSFTP).

Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, commander U.S. 3rd Fleet, was impressed with the level of cooperation among the organizations that ensured his fleet is ready for anything.

"We've got a great team across the board with TTGP, CSFTP, the staff of C3F (3rd Fleet) and Nimitz CSG. I couldn't be happier," Hunt said. "This strike group is ready to go to sea to do any tasking our nation asks them to do."

Hart, the training officer, said, "This FST-(Joint) was the Nimitz strike group's capstone event, earning them certification as an integrated, combat-ready force."

Synthetic training allows the Navy to train for those warfare areas and tasks that can be accomplished ashore in pier-side events. However, nothing replaces realistic at-sea training like COMPTUEX (composite training unit exercise) and JTFEX (joint task force exercise) as part of the pre-deployment training strike groups receive.

At-sea exercises are still vital to ensure "real-world" training to develop and maintain proficiency in a myriad of skills, from ship handling to detecting submarines with sonar. These types of skills require a full range of complexities, conditions, environments and situations in which Sailors, units and strike groups must function when they are deployed. Fleet Synthentic Training does not fully replicate real-world stress and randomness nor provide for competing concerns such as safety of flight and maneuver at sea.

FST-J trains participants in a shore-based synthetic, tactically and operationally demanding training environment that integrates joint forces that are geographically separated.

Nimitz, Sampson, Pinckney, Rentz and Higgins were pier-side in San Diego while Ingraham operated pier-side out of Everett, Wash., and Chosin was at its homeport in Pearl Harbor during FST-J.

Thomas W. Smith, deputy Fleet Synthetic Training officer for TTGP, explained that the Distributed Training Control Center (DTCC), located at TTGP headquarters in San Diego, is the central hub for U.S. Pacific Fleet synthetic training. This is where the scenario was generated and where Navy, Army and Air Force personnel worked side-by-side during FST-J.

"Ships and units share line-of-sight communications and tactical data as if they were operating at sea as a strike group using radio towers in each port linked together via the Navy Continuous Training Environment (NCTE) network and controlled in the DTCC. This architecture enables crews to train on their ships at the consoles they operate while at sea, with realistic and robust threats that they may encounter on deployment," said Smith.

In training and evaluating staffs and strike groups, synthetic training can incorporate joint forces, coalition partners and tactical challenges that can be impractical or impossible to create with live training at sea.

"The synthetic network is far-reaching and brings in allies," said Hart. "We had an Australian ship (HMAS Ballarat) in the exercise, and U.S. Air Force and Army units involved. Those units 'plugged in' from places as far away as Sydney, Australia, and Hawaii."

While it cannot duplicate the conditions provided by live at-sea training, synthetic training helps the Navy meet its training and readiness goals in support of the Maritime Strategy at a time when the Navy faces increased operation tempo and limited fiscal resources.

For more news from Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/c3f/.



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