December 17, 2015 — ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) — The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) successfully concludes the basic phase of training with the completion of Tailored Ship’s Training Availability/Final Evaluation Problem (TSTA/FEP), Dec. 9.
Due to operational commitments, Ike’s basic phase training cycle was compressed from a nominal 22 weeks to 15.5 weeks after the ship spent 23 months at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) undergoing an extended maintenance availability period. Since departing NNSY, Ike has been at sea more than 70 percent of the time over the past 4 months.
“It’s a testament to how hard this crew has worked over the last few years, and the last several months in particular,” said Capt. Paul C. Spedero Jr., Ike’s commanding officer. “You can’t demonstrate this high a level of proficiency and readiness without dedicating yourself to getting better each and every day.”
During the TSTA portion, ATG assessors measured the crew’s overall ability to operate the ship, including their readiness to respond to and recover from casualties, their ability to conduct damage control, medical and combat systems operations. The evaluation culminated in FEP when ATG assessors determined how ready the crew is to conduct combat missions and support functions such as flight operations while maintaining the ability to survive complex casualty control situations.
While aboard, the ATG inspectors assessed a variety of the crew’s knowledge and capabilities through scenarios including medical response, damage control, navigation and weapons drills.
Chief Sonar Technician (Surface) Quentin D. Wells, the leading chief petty officer for Ike’s Training department, said Ike’s crew proved during TSTA/FEP that they can manage themselves and sustain their proficiencies moving forward.
“Yes, we had to make a certain score,” Wells said. “But the real victory is knowing that if something happened for real that involved everyone on the ship, we can truthfully say that Ike is ready for any type of casualty or challenge that may lie ahead.”
The overall score was outstanding due to the strong deckplate leadership, professionalism and motivation of the junior Sailors. According to the ATG representatives, several shipboard organizations distinguished themselves, including Air department, Deck department, Navigation department and the ship’s damage control teams.
ATG assessors declared Ike’s Medical department to be “shining stars,” and lauded them for having particularly strong levels of professional knowledge and experience.
In addition to TSTA/FEP, Ike completed flight deck certification, multiple carrier qualifications, joint strike fighter developmental testing, and shipboard training and qualifications during the basic phase.
The conclusion of the TSTA/FEP evaluation, which also marked the end of the basic phase of the ship’s fleet response training plan (FRTP), was the first time Ike conducted integrated operations with Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10 and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 embarked, as well as with ships from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26. The carrier strike group is the first scheduled to deploy under the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP).
Now in the integrated training phase, Ike and CVW 3 will exercise individual unit warfare skill sets in conjunction with other CSG 10 assets in the coming months. The next major graded evolution in the pre-deployment certification will be a Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPUTEX), scheduled for next year. COMPTUEX will test all warfare mission areas of both the ship and the strike group.