The U.S. Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Va., after completing a sustainment exercise (SUSTEX), April 11.
SUSTEX is an integrated, comprehensive exercise designed to ensure the ship and the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) are ready to meet all mission sets and carry out sustained combat operations from the sea.
According to Rear Adm. Gene Black, commander, Carrier Strike Group Eight, SUSTEX tested the communication ability and the operational capabilities of the entire strike group.
“SUSTSEX is a great exercise,” said Black. “It takes all Sailors, in all paygrades, to complete the exercise efficiently and effectively. We returned from deployment in December, and we came back out, reinforcing our proficiency and completing qualifications for the flight deck and the air wing. It all comes together to combine our training and our teams as we look forward.”
HSTCSG is in the sustainment phase of the Navy’s Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP), conducting operations that directly support the strike group remaining ready to surge forward or redeploy if called upon.
“The strike group performed magnificently during SUSTEX,” added Black. “We came out ready, we were able to communicate. We were able to operate. We hit every milestone we were trying to hit, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the performance across the board, from seaman recruit to captain, and what it did for our surface ships, for the air wing, and for the carrier.”
HSTCSG units involved in SUSTEX include the flagship USS Harry S. Truman; Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS Forest Sherman (DDG 98), and USS Farragut (DDG 99); the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Normandy (CG 60) and USS Vella Gulf (CG 72); embarked squadrons from Carrier Air Wing 1, to include: Strike Fighter Squadron 11 “Red Rippers,” VFA-211 “Checkmates,” VFA-81 “Sunliners,” VFA-136 “Knighthawks,” Electronic Attack Squadron 137 “Rooks,” Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 126 “Seahawks,” Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 72 “Proud Warriors,” Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 11 “Dragonslayers,” and a detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 “Rawhides;” and embarked staffs from Destroyer Squadron 28 and CSG-8.
Carrier Strike Group 8