PACIFIC OCEAN (May 27, 2011) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) steams the Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Crishanda K. McCall/Released).

USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) — USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) returned to its homeport of Bremerton, Wash., June 13, after 45 days away conducting exercises in preparation for an upcoming deployment.

Stennis recently completed Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) and Joint Task Force Training Exercise (JTFEX).

"This underway period had a lot of stuff going on," said Combat Direction Center Officer, Cmdr. Chris Dobson. "Not only COMPTUEX and JTFEX, we also had Supply Management Inspection (SMI), and ORSE (Operational Reactor Safeguard Examination), the reactor inspection. Those are all major events in a carrier's training evolution. We passed those with flying colors as well. All of those elements are necessary for a carrier to be able to deploy across the Pacific and into the Middle East."

Dobson said this underway provided many challenges and opportunities to learn and improve from the battle exercises.

"We've learned how to operate in a communications denied environment," said Dobson. "One of the key points of JTFEX was the denial of satellite communications, and it forced us to coordinate in other ways. It stressed us a little bit out of the box to find other ways to get things done."

Stennis worked together with the strike group to perform the missions of different battle problems.

"Working together as an overall group was probably one of the biggest challenges to overcome," said Strike Operations Officer Cmdr. Stevin Johnson. "It's been very easy to work on our own with Fleet Replacement Squadron Carrier Qualifications, for instance, where we don't have to worry about integrating with somebody else to do what we need to do, but we've done well."

Dobson said the entire crew played an integral part during the underway period, and the efforts of each individual contributed to the overall successful completion.

"It's the efforts of the guy that fixes breakfast for the crew, the guy that generates power for the ship, the guy that pushes buttons to launch missiles," said Dobson. "It's an all hands effort to make sure we can do our job, and I think we're ready to go."

Commander, Strike Forces Training Pacific (CSFTP) recommended Stennis ready for major combat operations.

"CSFTP noted that we worked well together as a strike group," said Dobson. "We were stressed more right off the bat through JTFEX in the battle problem than previous strike groups that have gone before us, and we received accolades across the board."

Even though Stennis has completed both COMPTUEX and JTFEX, training is an ongoing evolution said Johnson.

"There's still learning and training to be had all the way through deployment, but that's just the normal pattern of life," said Johnson. "We will continue to improve on our skill sets, but I think the ship and strike group are ready for deployment."

This underway has prepared Stennis for both peaceful and wartime scenarios that may be encountered during deployment, said Dobson.

For more news from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn74/.