Story by PO1 Anthony Curtis on 09/05/2019The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) departed its homeport of Naval Station Norfolk Sep.4 as part of the Navy's preparations for Hurricane Dorian, and took advantage of the underway to begin Tailored Ship's Training Availability/Final Evaluation Problem (TSTA/FEP) almost immediately after departure.
Ike was scheduled to begin TSTA/FEP later this week, but started early since the ship departed for sea ahead of schedule. Representatives from Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic (CNAL) and Afloat Training Group (ATG) Atlantic will evaluate the ship's "within the lifelines" ability to conduct combat missions, support functions and survive complex casualty control situations.
Additionally, this gives the crew and the embarked air wing a solid foundation of unit level operating proficiency in a wide range of mission-critical areas and enhances the ship's ability to self-train following completion of the unit phase.
"As the crew's mindset shifts towards deployment, it is imperative that we, as a team, take advantage of every opportunity for training as they become available," said Lt. Cmdr. Jamie Drage, Ike's training officer. "Thanks to ATG Atlantic, CNAL and the Ike's crew, we've been able to get ahead on events of TSTA/FEP for the end of the Basic Phase of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (O-FRP)."
Ike, along with other Hampton Roads-based ships and aircraft, were ordered to leave the area Wednesday, as Hurricane Dorian is forecast to bring high winds and heavy rain to the Mid-Atlantic coast. Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet, ordered Sortie Condition Alpha be set, effectively evacuating any naval vessels that were able from the area.
"The Sailors, whether they are assigned to the ship's company or to portions of the assigned air wing, have trained to maintain a standard of proficiency," said Capt. Kyle Higgins, Ike's commanding officer. "With this event, Ike will be able to show that we are now at a point where we are ready to deploy at a moment's notice."
The ATG and CNAL inspectors will assess the crew's knowledge and capabilities through a variety of scenarios including life-saving skills, damage control, navigation and weapons drills. General quarters (GQ) drills allow all of these subjects to be simultaneously graded through training scenarios that include simulated casualties on the ship.
Ike's crew will continue to conduct these drills throughout the underway period until the assessors determine that they are proficient across the respective warfare areas
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