Story by PO3 Devin Lowe on 09/13/2019NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Pier-side for only a day, Sailors loaded with sea bags and other necessities were welcomed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). They all wore the same uniform, though their covers presented a variety different insignias. Soon, these Sailors were side-by-side, transporting cargo and moving stores to ensure Ike is fully prepared for the mission ahead.
Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 and Ike came together to complete an air wing onload Sept. 8 before departing to continue Tailored Ship's Training Availability/Final Evaluation Problem (TSTA/FEP) Sept. 9.
"We have to work together," said Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Monica Lyde, quality assurance supervisor for the "Rampagers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 83. "The mission depends on it. Today, we're helping each other load gear and supplies so we can launch and recover aircraft. Right now, we're in that walk' phase of crawl, walk, run', but after TSTA/FEP we'll be in the run' phase, and it has to be a team effort."
The onload ensured that both Ike and CVW 3 are ready and in the right mindset to complete TSTA/FEP, a unit-level training designed to prepare the ship, its crew and embarked air wing for full integration into a carrier strike group by measuring proficiency in a wide-range of mission-critical operational areas. For TSTA/FEP, Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic and Afloat Training Group (ATG) Atlantic sends a specialized group of Sailors to assess training teams on their ability to train the crew on a variety of drills, including medical emergencies, general quarters responses, and other evolutions to evaluate the performance of Ike and air wing Sailors.
"Teamwork is always important," said Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Tanadize Menton. "Especially when it's such a big group of people coming together like this, we have to help each other out. With the air wing onboard, we're one step closer to the fight. The ability to come together and work as one team means that we are ready to go."
The crew and embarked air wing had a tight deadline to complete the onload upon returning from an unscheduled departure from Naval Station Norfolk due to Hurricane Dorian. While at sea, the crew was able to get a head start on TSTA/FEP and settle into the mindset of being deployable at a moment's notice.
"The truth is that we have an outstanding group of Sailors from the Ike and Battle Axe team who rose to the occasion to get the job done," said Cmdr. Andy Henwood, Ike's Supply Officer. "The ability of our aircraft carrier and air wing to rapidly respond in today's dynamic operating environment relies heavily on supply and logistics to enhance warfighting readiness. We now have the material onboard needed to support the air wing and we're ready to get out there and launch and recover aircraft."
Upon completion of the onload, Ike was able to get underway focused on demonstrating the capabilities and lethality of a United States Navy aircraft carrier and its embarked air wing ready to join the fight in today's Great Power Competition.
"We are ready to fight," said Lyde. "We're ready to take the mission to our adversaries and get the job done."