USS TRUMAN, At Sea -- The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) completed a 24-day underway Oct. 25 that tested the skills of every Sailor and Marine aboard.
For the first time in almost two years, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 Sailors and Marines embarked Truman prior to Truman's Oct. 2 underway to prepare for Harry S. Truman Strike Group's upcoming deployment.
Capt. Mike Wallace, CVW-3's commander, said Truman's underway gave the air wing an opportunity to test and improve various skills across each of its squadrons. Including a focus on the timeliness of launches and recoveries, Wallace said increased attention was placed on flight operations such as airborne refueling and individual unit-level training.
"This is the first time the ship and air wing have operated together as a team since December 2010," said Wallace. "This underway included a high number of cyclic operations. We were launching and recovering aircraft for 12 hours at a time, refining the pilots' skills as they took off and landed on the carrier."
In total, CVW-3 pilots completed more than 1,300 launches and recoveries even as Truman Sailors and CVW-3 personnel participated in a multitude of shipboard training scenarios, both on the flight deck and in the hangar bay.
"The most noticeable part of our integration was that our Sailors and Marines were making flight operations look easy every time," said Cmdr. Paul Crump, Truman's air officer. "While working on the flight deck, there are so many variables, so many things that can happen, yet each launch and recovery was executed safely, quickly, and effectively."
Crump said the carrier's underway consisted of seamless teamwork between Truman's air department Sailors and CVW-3 as they conducted drills that simulated aircraft crashes and fires, barricade drills and mass casualty drills on the flight deck.
"CVW-3 Sailors have been enthusiastic, motivated and willing partners in every way," said Crump. "It's great to see how far this team has come in only a single underway. As we moved on to more complicated operations, CVW-3 and air department Sailors were performing with practiced regularity. The flight deck and hangar bays have evolved to pro-active environments rather than reactive ones."
Wallace agreed, noting the professionalism every Sailor and Marine displayed while conducting air operations.
"This has given us the chance to practice critical skills that we will have to demonstrate during actual missions while on deployment," said Wallace. "It's all about refining our proficiencies. We can't build upon the complexity of our mission execution until we have a solid foundation."
According to Wallace, the foundation could not have been built without the help of every Sailor and Marine aboard Truman.
"I could not be happier with the team we have built within Harry S. Truman Strike group," said Wallace. "We tell ourselves every day how blessed we are to have great people who get along and work hard together and truly understand that it's a team sport."
After disembarking, CVW-3 is scheduled to conduct advanced tactical training in Fallon, Nev., until mid-December.
Truman is scheduled to continue training in preparation for an upcoming composite training unit exercise.