By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeff Atherton, George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs
USS ARLEIGH BURKE, At Sea (NNS) -- Guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) departed Naval Station Norfolk to participate in a scheduled Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), Nov. 22.
"We are getting ready to deploy," said Cmdr. Camille Flaherty, Arleigh Burke's commanding officer. "We are forging a command team that is ready to go into harm's way."
COMPTUEX allows Arleigh Burke the opportunity to work with other ships comprising the George H. W. Bush Carrier Strike Group.
"This exercise is an outstanding opportunity for Arleigh Burke to integrate into a strike group and work with different warfare areas," said Cmdr. Chris Majors, assigned to Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic (CSFTL) and the senior assessor aboard Arleigh Burke during COMPTUEX.
Arleigh Burke, whose motto is "Built to Fight," will get to do just that -- participate in and be evaluated on a series of scenario-driven exercises aimed at integrating the ship with the rest of the strike group.
"The Arleigh Burke Sailors can expect to see a wide range of warfare areas such as air defense, surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, electronic warfare and maritime interdiction operations (MIO), among others," said Majors.
These warfare areas are uniquely tailored to the possible challenges that the strike group may face while operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. Sailors will be required to conduct missions with visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) teams and small craft action teams (SCAT) in order to achieve the Navy's maritime objectives.
"COMPTUEX allows Sailors to develop a battle rhythm," said Chief Gunner's Mate Chuck Thomas. "This is comparable to operating in the 5th Fleet because the VBSS team and SCAT are ready at a moment's notice to support MIO."
For the Sailors, the unknown is the most realistic part of COMPTUEX.
"We just don't know what to expect next," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Mahtob Johnson. "This is when training comes in and we can effectively execute what we have learned to do."
Following the successful completion of COMPTUEX, Arleigh Burke will be fully certified for its scheduled deployment in early 2014.
"As a ship, we are manned up at a heightened state of readiness," said Thomas. "When we arrive in theater, it will be like we have seen it before."
Although Arleigh Burke is the oldest destroyer in the fleet, having been commissioned on July 4, 1991, the ship remains ready to fight.
"This is not the same ship that was commissioned 22 years ago," said Flaherty. "She has upgraded engines control systems and a completely new ballistic missile defense capability, just to name some improvements."
The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group consists of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2 staff, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22 staff, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), guided-missile cruisers USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), and guided-missile destroyers USS Truxtun (DDG 103), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) and USS Arleigh Burke.
For more news from the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/.