ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 17, 2015) – Propellers beat through the air on the flight deck aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) as Marines embark and Sailors coordinate movement with others ships along the seascape.
A battle is brewing for the men and women of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4, the Sailors of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSGARG) and the Marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). Over the next three weeks, they will be tested in many mission areas, such as humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations, air defense and electronic attacks, as part of the Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX).
Led by Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 4, COMPTUEX is a series of training scenarios designed to certify an ARG/MEU is deployment-ready and can perform as an integrated unit.
“The way the Sailors and Marines respond as a team during COMPTUEX could be the difference between mission success and failure during a deployment,” said Master Chief Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Todd Womack, CSG-4’s Senior Enlisted Advisor from Cottonwood, Ala.
In addition to Kearsarge, the KSGARG consists of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24). In addition, the guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) and the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) are participating in COMPTUEX as part of their deployment certification. During COMPTUEX, CSG-4 sends about 60 servicemembers and civilians aboard Kearsarge alone with around five to ten aboard the other ships. Additionally, about 60 Sailors and civilians on the beach support this evolution as trainers, assessors and pilots for simulated Opposition Forces (OPFOR) aircraft and Mobile Sea Range (MSR) vessels.
“This is an ‘all hands on deck’ evolution to ensure the Blue-Green team is ready for whatever the nation calls on them to do when forward deployed,” said Womack, who specializes in electronic and information warfare.
“Think of PMINT as the crawl phase,” said Cmdr. Sean Anderson, CSG-4’s lead assessor. “That’s the first time the ARG and MEU integrate to work as a team at sea. ARG/MEUEX is the walk phase with COMPTUEX being the run phase. CSG-4 and Expeditionary Operations Training Group (EOTG) work closely to together to mentor and train the Blue-Green team throughout the exercise to ensure they are prepared and have enduring planning, briefing, execution and debriefing (PBED) processes to execute any deployment mission, including unexpected contingencies. ”
As part of COMPTUEX, CSG-4 tests the ARG/MEU’s ability to launch, load and recover amphibious craft, conduct rotary and fixed-wing flight operations and conduct visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) missions.
COMPTUEX supports the Navy’s mission of training to improve capabilities of servicemembers who are warfighters preparing to be ready to operate forward when the nation calls.
Commanded by Rear Adm. Richard Butler, CSG-4 is a team of experienced Sailors, Marines, government civilians and reservists, who mentor, train and assess Atlantic Fleet combat forces to forward deploy. CSG-4’s experts shape the readiness of Atlantic Fleet CSGs, Expeditionary Strike Groups (ESG), Amphibious Readiness Groups (ARG) and Independent Deploying ships.
Formerly known as Commander Strike Force Training Atlantic (CSFTL), CSG-4, along with subordinate commands, Tactical Training Group Atlantic (TTGL) and Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Atlantic (EWTGL), prepare every Atlantic-based CSG, ARG and Independent Deployer for sustained, forward-deployed, high tempo operations.
By Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Evans, Carrier Strike Group 4 Public Affairs Officer