Expeditionary Training Group Reaches Exercise Milestone
Navy News Service
Story Number: NNS120511-21
From Expeditionary Training Group Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Expeditionary Training Group (ETG) reached a milestone May 3, when the command conducted and assessed an integrated certification exercise for three commands that will deploy together.
Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 joined Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadrons (MSRON) 3 and 11, in the integrated pre-deployment Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) 12-1 training exercise, held aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in San Diego, April 30 to May 3.
"This is the first time we've done a live and synthetic exercise of this magnitude," said Capt. Michael Napolitano, ETG commanding officer. "The relationships developed this week will be critical for these units who are deploying together to support Commander Task Force 56 (CTF-56)."
CTF-56 supports nine different task groups including expeditionary combat, logistical support and combat service support forces in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Operations. CTF-56 has several different task groups that fall under their command including mobile diving and salvage, and maritime expeditionary security forces.
"Our ultimate objective is to get as many deployers together (at a pre-deployment exercise) so that when they get downrange and start working together, they're not seeing each other for the first time," said Scott Brinkman, ETG director of training. "That's really a money maker for us and for the training audience."
The exercise called for expeditionary forces to operate in an adaptive force package and conduct maritime security operations to restore stability in the training scenario. The expeditionary adaptive force package staff is a headquarters element that ensures the efficient and appropriate use of expeditionary forces, including explosive ordnance disposal, maritime civil affairs, maritime expeditionary security and diving and salvage.
MDSU 1 and MSRON 11 Sailors operated from a headquarters element in San Diego while coordinating with simulated diving and maritime security forces in Oregon.
MSRON 3 participated by setting up a forward operating base in Coronado with boats positioned to protect and escort cargo ships and other high value assets transiting the San Diego Bay.
Bringing together the live and synthetic training with the units was a challenge for ETG's exercise controllers.
"In the beginning that was my biggest concern," said Cmdr. Paul Rufo, ETG white cell battle watch captain.
The white cell team managed all aspects of the exercise, including scheduled scenario events and assessing the planning and execution processes of the three commands.
"We've mixed and matched live and synthetic in a few exercises, but this time we had three certifying commands, plus we had a large venue with geographically dispersed units," said Rufo. "So in that respect it was a large undertaking."
The exercise tested the training unit's ability to communicate up and down the chain of command. ETG also assessed how well the three commands planned and conducted maritime security operations, diving and salvage jobs, and theater security cooperation missions including military-to-military training and key leader engagements.
ETG sent a 20-person team to San Diego to manage the exercise and assess the unit's performance. At the completion, ETG's commanding officer recommended to 3rd Fleet that the three commands be certified as maritime security operations ready.
This is the fourth major certification exercise ETG has designed, conducted and assessed in 2012. Later this year ETG will design and assess Navy expeditionary participation in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in Hawaii.
ETG's 50-person staff designs and conducts exercises throughout the year and teaches staff planning and operations center management to NECC units.
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