This post has been updated to include a statement from 2nd Fleet.
The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group departed Naval Station Norfolk over the holiday weekend to begin its composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) ahead of a deployment later this year.
The Truman CSG deployed from April to December 2018 and is going out for a second deployment during the sustainment phase of its readiness cycle, where the carrier maintains high readiness in case it is called upon to deploy again, surge in an emergency or participate in exercises or other events.
During COMPTUEX, the carrier, its escorts and the carrier air wing will prove again to the trainers in Carrier Strike Group 4 and to U.S. 2nd Fleet that they are ready to deploy overseas again.
“I am excited to see what this combined strike group and air wing can accomplish during COMPTUEX,” Rear Adm. Andrew Loiselle, the strike group commander, said in a Navy statement.
“The sailors on each ship will be challenged with real-world scenarios combining live and synthetic training. This exercise will test our integrated strength as a multi-mission force. The comprehensive training evolutions are an opportunity to grow as a team, both in our ability to sustain prolonged periods at sea and to find areas where we can improve.”
The month-long test event will cover air warfare, detecting and responding to surface and subsurface threats, electronic warfare and more.
However, the strike group’s cruiser was not at sea for the very beginning of the COMPTUEX, Navy Times first reported. After leaving port on July 5 with the rest of the strike group, USS Normandy (CG-60) returned back to port on July 6 to address a maintenance issue.
U.S. 2nd Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Ashley Hockycko told USNI News that Normandy had returned to port on Saturday to address a minor maintenance issue but that, after troubleshooting over the weekend, the cruiser left port again today to join the rest of the ships.
“USS Normandy returned to port to trouble shoot and repair what was ultimately a minor casualty,” she told USNI News in a statement.
“The ship has made all necessary repairs and departed Naval Station Norfolk July 8 to rejoin the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group’s Composite Unit Training exercise.”
She added that COMPTUEX is a time to test not only the ships’ warfighting readiness but also their material readiness, and that Normandy was able to take these few days to address its material readiness ahead of the next month at sea.
The strike group includes USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75); Normandy; guided-missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG-61), USS Lassen (DDG-82), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG-98) and USS Farragut (DDG-99); Carrier Air Wing One; and staffs from Carrier Strike Group 8 and Destroyer Squadron 28.
This COMPTUEX will be the first led by 2nd Fleet since it declared itself operationally capable on May 29, USNI News previously reported. 2nd Fleet was involved in the Abraham Lincoln CSG COMPTUEX in January and used it as an opportunity to begin working with the CSG-4 training staff and learning what it would be like to command and control forces at sea in the 2nd Fleet area of responsibility.
USNI News first reported last week that the Truman Strike Group was preparing to head out for its COMPTUEX. The story noted that previous plans called for the Eisenhower CSG to deploy by now, but the carrier is facing delays after a six-month planned maintenance availability ran 19 months long; due to that delay, the Truman CSG will be the next out the door, while the IKE CSG continues through its basic training phase and eventually into pre-deployment workups.
Following publication of that article, U.S. Fleet Forces Command spokesman Capt. Scott Miller told USNI News that the Truman CSG deployment had been planned for about two years and was not related to the IKE maintenance challenges. Miller did not answer additional questions regarding the reasons for the planned double-pump deployment.