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USS Gerald R. Ford carrier, strike group completes final certification for deployment

USS Gerald R. Ford carrier, strike group completes final certification for deployment
By Caitlyn Burchett
The Virginian-Pilot
Apr 05, 2023 at 8:08 am

The USS Gerald R. Ford and its strike group completed the final certification needed to ready the aircraft carrier for its maiden warfighting deployment.

The Ford slipped into port Sunday at Naval Station Norfolk following a month-long composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) off the East Coast. While the Navy’s newest and most technologically advanced aircraft carrier has conducted short, training-focused deployments, completion means the Ford is now a certified combat-deployable warship.

“After we complete COMPTUEX, Ford and our crew will be fully integrated with the carrier strike group as a cohesive, multi-mission fighting machine, ready to sail over the horizon to support national tasking,” said Capt. Paul Lanzilotta, the Ford’s commanding officer, ahead of the certification in the April edition of warship’s monthly magazine.

“COMPTUEX served as a doctorate-level test of the strike group’s ability to operate collectively across the spectrum of warfare areas while incorporating the first in class Gerald R. Ford into the strike group,” said Rear Adm. Greg Huffman, commander of Carrier Strike Group 12.

The training included Destroyer Squadron 2, guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy, and guided-missile destroyers USS Ramage and USS McFaul — all of which are based in Norfolk — and the USS Thomas Hudner. Carrier Air Wing 8, primarily based out of Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Air Station Oceana, also participated.

During the four weeks, units were tested on their proficiency and readiness through scenario-based, live training, that increases in complexity and intensity, U.S. Fleet Forces Command said in a release. The simulated combat situations included aircraft, submarine and missile attacks, ship casualties and engineering and communication drills.

“The robust scenarios challenged every facet of our warfighting capability, enabling growth and learning at every level, allowing us to further refine our warfare tactics and processes… Our readiness is the highest it has ever been, and I feel fortunate for the opportunity to deploy with this amazing team,” Huffman said.

Caitlyn Burchett,

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