SAN DIEGO - The officers and crew of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) returned to their homeport of San Diego following participation in an independent deployer certification exercise (IDCERTEX) off the coast of Southern California, Nov. 6-14.
During the exercise, Lake Champlain conducted exercises with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Howard (DDG 83), USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Kidd (DDG 100) and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108).
The IDCERTEX provided an opportunity for the ships to train in real-world scenarios that they can expect to encounter during future operations.
"IDCERTEX showed Lake Champlain Sailors that the training they received pierside has prepared them to operate with other U.S. assets," said Lt. Donald S. Northrup, Lake Champlain's navigator.
Lake Champlain assisted Ronald Reagan with flight operations by taking up position behind the carrier during night operations so that the pilots could use the ship as a guide towards the flight deck, an event that took precise maneuvering by Lake Champlain's bridge team.
"It was a great opportunity to practice tactical maneuvers within close proximity of an aircraft carrier," said Chief Quartermaster James J. Ortiz. "The coordination between the two units became flawless by the conclusion of the exercise."
Lake Champlain also assumed the role of air defense commander during the IDCERTEX and was responsible for defending the aircraft carrier against simulated enemy forces.
"The exercise allowed us to put all the synthetic training we received to this point into action," said Ensign Joseph E. Hanacek, Lake Champlain's combat information center officer. "The combat team was able to work with live assets which provided unparalleled training."
Commissioned in 1988, USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) is named in honor of the Battle of Lake Champlain that took place during the War of 1812 and is the third U.S. Navy vessel to bear the name.