Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jacksonville, Florida: What's that Extra Plane Noise? Offshore Group Conducts Drills

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- With an international airport, two military bases and plenty of smaller airports, the skies over Jacksonville are accustomed to air traffic, but extra noise has been filling the skies lately.

The USS Enterprise and the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group are offshore conducting exercises in preparation for the final deployment of the world's first nuclear aircraft carrier, scheduled for later this year.

The drills will continue into the first week of February, according to Navy Public Affairs Officer LCDR Mike Kafka.

Chief Mass Communication Specialist Stephen M. White with USS Enterprise Public Affairs explained the carrier left its homeport in Norfolk, Virginia, on Jan. 11, to participate in a Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX) and Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX).

COMPTUEX is designed to hone warfare skills and maintain unit proficiency.

"It's the final exercise to ensure Enterprise is combat ready," said Capt. William C. Hamilton, Jr., Enterprise commanding officer. "We're looking forward to working with the full strike group conducting combat exercises across the full spectrum of battle spaces."

That spectrum for the next few weeks includes Jacksonville's airspace, leading to unusual jet noises in the area from the more than 4,500 sailors and Marines involved.

JTFEX tests the group's ability to operate with coalition forces in a hostile environment.

"By the end of COMPTUEX and JTFEX, we will have a combat-ready strike group that will be ready to execute the Navy's mission anywhere in the world," said Rear Adm. Walter E. Carter, Jr., commander, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group.

The strike group consists of the USS Enterprise, Carrier Air Wing 1, Destroyer Squadron 2, guided missile cruiser USS Vicksburg, and three guided missile destroyers: USS Porter, USS James E. Williams and USS Nitze.

First Coast News

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