PACIFIC OCEAN (April 5, 2013) - The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) departed Naval Air Station North Island April 3 after picking up Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 to participate in a scheduled Sustainment Exercise (SUSTEX).
"SUSTEX is a refresher for us to ensure we are as alert as possible for every area of operation we'll be in," said Cmdr. Keith Patton, combat direction center officer for Nimitz.
"We've been in port for a few months, so we're making sure everyone is at the top of their game when we forward deploy, added Patton."
Nimitz and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11 qualified ready for deployment following a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) late last year but with the slight delay in schedule it was necessary to go through a refresher before the strike group was sent out on their Western Pacific deployment.
"We got this opportunity to basically start working as a team again in what is called a sustainment exercise, before we deploy ," said Cmdr. Nicholie Bufkin, CSG 11 surface operations officer. "It gives us the opportunity to work together as a team as well as give the airwing the opportunity to fly on so everyone can regain their proficiencies."
Bufkin said Carrier Strike Force Training Pacific will send trainers and assessors to the ship during the exercise. The trainers will not only provide resources but will also give pointers and tips to make sure the ship, strike group and their Sailors are fully ready to deploy.
During JTFEX, the ship and strike group went through a scenario that continued to build on itself until it became a final battle problem. SUSTEX is designed to be more of a basic refresher.
"Since we've already proven ourselves by achieving that level of training, this is just a number of exercises that are normally more isolated to give us the opportunity to do different things," said Bufkin.
After completing SUSTEX, Nimitz and CVW11 will join other components of CSG 11 in a Western Pacific deployment.
"We can't wait to get out there," said Bufkin.