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Anchors aweigh: Stennis gets underway

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) passes through Bremerton as it departs its homeport last week. The carrier will be gone for two months of training in preparation for a scheduled deployment early next year.  - Photo courtesy of  Jason Chudy
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) passes through Bremerton as it departs its homeport last week. The carrier will be gone for two months of training in preparation for a scheduled deployment early next year.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Jason Chudy

“Sea and anchor detail set.” USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) hit the seas Sept. 24 to begin its two-month underway.

Stennis left its homeport of Bremerton to join Carrier Strike Group 3 (CSG 3) and to complete a final series of exercises and evaluations before being certified as deployment ready.

“We will focus on operating with other ships and units in our strike group as well as units from the other services,” said Commanding Officer, Capt. Joesph Kuzmick. “In the end, we’ll be prepared to deploy and support national tasking anywhere in the world.”

Stennis and its strike group will engage in a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), a three-week exercise, to demonstrate that Stennis and its strike group can integrate and operate in unison through surface warfare, anti-submarine and air warfare scenarios.

“The training stresses the importance of commanders working together,” said Operations Officer, Cmdr. Donald Glatt. “We will be challenged with current world scenarios to give us the most realistic training so that we’re prepared for deployment.”

During COMPTUEX, Carrier Air Wing 9 (CVW) will be on high alert, refueling, re-arming and launching aircraft.

“We’re constantly planning three events ahead of schedule so we don’t fall behind,” said Aircraft Handling Officer, Lt. Eric Harrington. “We’re ready to rock and roll.”

Commander, Strike Group Force Training Pacific (CSFTP) will grade Stennis’ performance during COMPTUEX to ensure the Stennis strike group is ready for its upcoming deployment.

“We will be graded on every detail of sea warfare to ensure we are deployment ready,” Glatt said.

Stennis will end the two-month underway with a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX), which tests the strike group’s ability to work with other U.S. military branches and coalition forces in a complex warfare environment.

“It will take every department from every ship to complete the training successfully,” Glatt said.

Another mission early on during the underway is Fleet Replacement Squadron Carrier Qualifications (FRSCQ) for reserve pilot qualifications.

To earn and maintain their carrier qualifications, the squadron pilots must perform multiple launches and carrier landings or “traps” during the day and night.

Stennis also plans to operate the NATO Sea Sparrow missile weapon system and the Phalanx Close-In Weapons Systems (CIWS) to test the ship’s air defense capabilities.

While in port, Stennis will conduct force protection security drills to test the crew’s ability to respond to emergencies while in foreign ports.

“It’s very exciting to see this crew operate this incredibly complex machine,” Kuzmick said. “I’m proud to be associated with them.”

This training cycle is part of the Navy’s commitment to ensuring strike groups maintain war fighting readiness and well-trained sailors, which are both essential elements of the Navy’s maritime strategy.

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