George Washington Begins CART II 
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Erin Devenberg, USS George Washington Public Affairs  
USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At Sea - The Afloat Training Group (ATG), Commander Task Force (CTF) 70, and Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) began drills aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) for the ship's annual Command Assessment Readiness and Training (CART) II, June 21.

The ATG group, flown in from San Diego and Norfolk, evaluates evolutions such as general quarters, toxic gas drills, hangar bay fire drills, fuel station drills, combat systems drills and man overboard drills during the five-day evaluation.

"CART is important because it tests our ability to ensure the readiness of the ship in case of any emergencies," said Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) Dennis Robinson, ATG San Diego. "It's important that the crew knows how to respond. It's all about training."

Before the inspectors arrived on board the ship, which is now underway in the Western Pacific, George Washington Sailors were preparing themselves with numerous drill scenarios in addition to their usual watches and duties. The ship's training officer said this demonstrates the pride the crew has in their ship and their jobs in the Navy.

"The crew has been working really hard lately to meet the expectations of the assessment," said Lt. Cmdr. Todd Russell, USS George Washington training officer. "We are looking for all that hard work to pay off big time."

Unlike carriers based in the United States which can take up to a month to complete CART, the assessment aboard George Washington is done in less than one week. This is due to the ship's hectic schedule resulting from being a full time, forward deployed carrier. For the crew, this means long hours and long days.

"It has been hectic, but we've been improving with each training evolution," said Electrician's Mate 2nd Class (SW/AW) Carlo Hugo, from Pittsburg, Calif. "The crew is motivated from briefing to de-briefing. Everybody is doing great."

Following CART is the ship's Final Evaluation Period (FEP) in which 20 ATG instructors will join the crew and evaluate each department and division's performance. FEP takes place in July when ATG, CTF-70, and CNAF will determine if the ship is ready to continue with the training cycle.

"It has been a big improvement from last year, at this point we have passed every drill," said Capt. Kenneth Reynard, USS George Washington executive officer. "The motivation of all of the Sailors has been outstanding. They are sponges, soaking up knowledge, eager to know how they did and want to know how they can improve."

George Washington's mission is to ensure security and stability in the Western Pacific and to be in position to work with our allies and regional partners to respond to any crisis across the operational spectrum as directed.
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