Ships and aircraft from the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group operate in the Pacific during a group sail exercise in May. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Paul L. Archer)

PACIFIC OCEAN - The ships of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) departed, Aug. 1, for Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), the final work-up phase prior to deployment scheduled later this year.

COMPTUEX evaluates the strike group's deployment readiness by testing command and control functions, crew safety evolutions, search and rescue operations, damage control testing and operational capabilities of a carrier strike group, ultimately certifying the TRCSG for deployment.

"COMPTUEX is the ultimate test before we go forward," said Rear Adm. Steve Koehler, commander, Carrier Strike Group Nine. "Throughout work-ups and after a highly successful Group Sail, the TRCSG is integrated across all warfare areas into a comprehensive warfighting force ready to carry out the nation's tasking."

Teamwork and effective communication are also graded elements of the exercise. These elements range from the strike group's ability to communicate with combatant commanders, to Sailors effectively helping each other fight fires.

"The effort of all hands throughout the strike group is critical to success for COMPTUEX and beyond," Koehler said. "I am confident that this group of Sailors and Marines will demonstrate that we're ready for real-world operations."

Surface, air, and anti-submarine elements began training for COMPTUEX separately at first, and then employed different exercises to integrate the teams for mission success.

"Each of the units has a role to play," Koehler said. "COMPTUEX evaluates our ability to engage in operations safely and effectively while providing our crews with additional focus areas so as a team we are prepared for anything."

COMPTUEX provides commanding officers and higher-echelon staffs with opportunities to demonstrate operational capabilities and supporting the many types of missions which could take place during a regularly-scheduled deployment.

"This underway will be dynamic and demanding of the crew. In order to make sure the men and women in the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group are ready for operations, we have to push our team beyond what we expect to see on deployment," Koehler said. "This is how we have built our record of successful operational deployments, and this is how we continue to ensure that the seas are safe and open for global commerce."

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), with the embarked staff of Destroyer Squadron 23 and the squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 17 (CVW 17), will execute COMPTUEX alongside the Sailors aboard guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), and guided-missile destroyers USS Halsey (DDG 97), USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Preble (DDG 88), and USS Sampson (DDG 102).