USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) transits the Pacific Ocean July 17 while underway with embarked Carrier Air Wing 2 and Destroyer Squadron 1 conducting the Tailored Ship's Training Availability (TSTA) and Final Evaluation Problem (FEP). (U.S. Navy/MC2 D’Andre L. Roden )

PACIFIC OCEAN - Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) recently departed its homeport of San Diego to begin the Tailored Ship's Training Availability/Final Evaluation Problem (TSTA/FEP) certification period.

TSTA/FEP, which is evaluated by Afloat Training Group (ATG), prepares the ship and crew for full integration into a carrier strike group through a wide range of mission-critical operations.

TSTA is a multi-phase event meant to give the crew a solid foundation of unit-level operating proficiency and develop the crew's ability to self-train following completion of TSTA in-port. FEP is a nominal, two-day graded event that takes place at the conclusion of TSTA.

The final evaluation problem evaluates a ship's "within the lifelines" ability to conduct combat missions, to support operations, and to survive complex casualty control situations.

"During this underway we're bringing the CSG-1 flagship team together for the first time," said Capt. Doug Verissimo, Carl Vinson's commanding officer. "Vinson will continue to be the support ship for all evolutions to include the launching and recovering of airplanes that provide so much of our warfighting capability. All of our supporting commands understand the importance of efficiently utilizing ATG's time, which will ensure we safely and successfully complete TSTA."

ATG will observe and assess aggregate shipboard watchstanding, warfighting and ship survival proficiencies, and the ship's resident capacity to sustain and build upon those proficiencies. Ships completing FEP will have demonstrated the minimum required skills to proceed to the next phase -- integration.

"Team Vinson has performed well so far," said Lt. Cmdr. Nathalie Kocis, Carl Vinson's training officer. "We have completed many events in performance mode, and we are coming together as a team to excel and show ATG what we are capable of."

Kocis said the crew has conducted numerous integrated team training evolutions, including general quarters and man overboard drills. They have also completed mandatory training milestones such as flight deck and Carrier Air Traffic Control Center certifications, various phases of crew certifications, command assessment of readiness and training, and TSTA in-port.

"All of these drills will ensure the training teams are ready and able to train the ship once ATG has completed their assessment," said Kocis. "When Team Vinson comes out of TSTA/FEP, the crew will be better prepared to handle potential real-world casualties."

Kocis added upon completion of TSTA/FEP, the crew will move into integrated phase training where it will begin coordinating with other units for strike group-level training to maintain performance levels in operationally challenging environments.