The second oldest U.S. aircraft carrier is back in port after wrapping a month’s worth of exercises ahead of a deployment later this year.
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) sailed up the James River from the Chesapeake Bay to Naval Station Norfolk, Va., on Tuesday after completing a 24-day composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX), according to a statement from Carrier Strike Group 2.
“Each unit and its crew in the strike group has been laying the groundwork for months in preparation for this,” Rear Adm. Marc Miguez the CSG-2 commander said in a statement.
“This team is combat-ready.”
Ike embarked with Carrier Air Wing Three, USS Philippine Sea (CG-58), and unspecified ships attached to Destroyer Squadron 22 for the exercise that was overseen by Carrier Strike Group 4.
The pre-deployment workups included operating with the Italian frigate ITS Virginio Fasan (F-591), which deployed with the George H.W. Bush CSG.
“[Fasan] completed COMPTUEX with the IKE CSG to exercise NATO alliance integration as U.S. Navy forces have been making a deliberate shift from interoperability to interchangeability,” reads the statement.
The exercise also included a transfer between U.S. and NATO authorities.
“The strike group used NATO reporting procedures, messaging formats and chat capabilities, reinforcing command and control and aligning communications channels to ensure a seamless process in the event of a crisis,” reads the statement.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. has swapped command and control of its carrier strike group between American and NATO commanders.
The deployment will be the first since Ike returned two years ago from back-to-back during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The upcoming deployment of the 46-year-old Ike will follow the May deployment of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). Ford has been operating in the Mediterranean for most of its deployment as part of the ongoing U.S. deterrence and reassurance missions.