Norfolk, Virginia - The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) continued its pre-deployment work-up cycle with the Fleet Synthetic Training - Group Commander (FST-GC) exercise conducted pier side September 19-21.
FST-GC is an exercise comprised of two parts. In the first part, Carrier Strike Group (CSG 12) warfare commanders, or representatives from each of the strike group’s major assets, came together to practice the planning process. In the second part, all the ships in the strike group connected in a virtual warfare environment.
“Fleet Synthetic Training allows our watch standers to practice strike group operations and defense of the ship while we are pier side,” said Chief Warrant Officer (Two) Quentin Myrick, the Operations Department senior Tactical Actions Officer (TAO). “This training gives us the opportunity to really sharpen our skills for the upcoming deployment.”
Major roles for this training evolution aboard Abraham Lincoln include the TAO, Air Defense Weapons Coordinator (ADWC), and Combat Direction Center Watch Officer (CDCWO). Through this exercise, Abraham Lincoln’s team focused on pre-planned responses, voice communications and the execution of the ship’s self-defense systems, all while integrating with the warfare commanders Abraham Lincoln will deploy with.
“[FST-GC] is an integral part of the training process that prepares the strike group for follow-on training and deployment,” said Cmdr. Zack Tate, Abraham Lincoln’s strike operations officer. “Think of it as us practicing in the simulator before we do it for real.”
This exercise is a precursor to the composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX), the final test before Carrier Strike Group 12 is ready to deploy. With all the elements of the strike group participating in FST-GC, it is one of the more dynamic training environments Abraham Lincoln has participated in since departing its midlife Refueling and Complex Overhaul.
“I’m excited that through [FST-GC] I could show the Lincoln what I learned from my schooling,” said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 3rd Class Karissa Enszer.
FST-GC allows CSG 12 to use internal and external planning processes to facilitate coordination among the warfare commanders. The strike group warfare commanders are the commanding officer of Abraham Lincoln, the commodore of Destroyer Squadron 2, the commander of Carrier Air Group 7, the commanding officer of Leyte Gulf and the information warfare commander. These five warfare commanders exercise operational control of the Strike Group and along with their warfare staffs and Sailors, were critical to making this a successful training evolution.
“It’s a great opportunity for our team to practice what we do,” said Cmdr. Kenneth Myrick, the Abraham Lincoln senior intelligence officer. “The entire strike group is coming together as one cohesive unit to implement our skills and resources, sharing intelligence across all warfare areas.”
In combat operations, teamwork is what it takes to succeed. FST-GC stresses the importance of working together as a team of teams and provides the opportunity for CSG 12 Sailors to build confidence in their role on the team. As deployment nears, it is another milestone complete for Abraham Lincoln to become a fully operational part of that team.
CSG-12 subordinate commands include Lincoln, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser Leyte Gulf (CG-65) and ships assigned to Destroyer Squadron 2: the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Mitcher (DDG 57), USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), USS Mason (DDG 87) and USS Nizte (DDG 94).