By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Josh Petrosino, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs
ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- Adm. Chester W. Nimitz once said, "There is no substitute for experience. However, when experience is not readily available, there is no substitute for training."
The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)) conducted various fleet exercises (FLEETEX), June 12-22, to build interoperability with the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) ships and to exercise proficiency in command and control.
"Fleet exercises are integrated joint and coalition training events to maintain proficiency across maritime warfare disciplines," said Lt. Cmdr. Joshua Vergow, a battle watch captain watch-stander in Tactical Flag Command Center.
"It's pretty much an exercise or event that we do as a strike group," said Cryptologic Technician Technical 2nd Class Alexander Cady. "We work with our small boys to achieve some sort of training, such as deceiving the enemy, combat drills, and how we would react in a certain situation."
Involving several ships, FLEETEX is a complex evolution that requires a proactive frame of mind.
Participating ships included TR, the guided-missile destoyers USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS McFaul (DDG 74), and USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duncan (D37).
"Because we are a strike group, it is important for us [Theodore Roosevelt] to know how to work with our [destroyers and cruiser] effectively in any given situation," said Cady. "If we get into a combat scenario we need to be prepared, and the only way we are going to be prepared is to train. Fleet exercises help us train, not only as individual ships, but as a strike group."
During FLEETEX, TRCSG conducted air defense exercises, electronic warfare exercises, emissions control exercises, and divisional tactics. These exercises involved close integration from Sailors on all ships performing their jobs in harmony.
"The fleet exercise DIVTACS [divisional tactics] provided junior officers an excellent chance to hone their ship handling skills in a multi-ship environment," said Farragut's Lt. j.g. Joshua Bowling. "The maneuvers were carefully planned and executed at distances between 500-1000 yards. Most junior officers are introduced to DIVTACS in the simulator, and being able to execute these skills in the 5th Fleet area of operations proved to be an extremely valuable training opportunity."
The intricate exercises conducted during FLEETEX required extensive focus and dedication to ensure training was effective and met all objectives.
"Fleet exercises require a high level of planning and pre-coordination to execute events safely and effectively," said Vergow. "The exercises were successful and there were a lot of lessons learned."
Theodore Roosevelt is the flagship of the TRCSG, which is composed of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 1, Destroyer Squadron 2 staff, guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Farragut (DDG 99) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).
Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.