Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Andre Payne signals all clear for the launch of an F/A-18E Super Hornet aboard aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Feb. 8. (U.S. Navy/MC2 John Philip Wagner)

NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND, Calif. - Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) completed its Tailored Ship's Training Availability (TSTA) and Final Evaluation Problem (FEP) before returning to Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado, Calif., Feb. 10.

The 26-day underway period brought the ship's crew and air wing together and qualified them for further training and integration with Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1.

"I am incredibly proud of my crew aboard Carl Vinson," said Capt. Kent Whalen, Carl Vinson's commanding officer. "Their hard work and dedication to training ensures this fine warship is mission-ready when the country calls upon her."

TSTA is the first combined training event of the Inter-Deployment Training Cycle (IDTC). During TSTA, training drills and real-world scenarios placed an emphasis on damage control, flight deck operations and simulated combat, each of which were evaluated by Afloat Training Group (ATG) Pacific. Sailors practiced fire-fighting, responded to man-overboard musters, conducted boat operations, and responded to simulated attacks from multiple threats.

At the end of TSTA, Carl Vinson immediately rolled into its FEP to demonstrate the crew's ability and proficiency in a challenging environment. Sailors faced diverse combat scenarios and successfully kept the ship in fighting shape through complex casualty simulations, ultimately earning a certification from Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific to begin the next phase of training.

"Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 will move into the integrated training phase next, where they will combine individual unit warfare skill sets with other Carrier Strike Group (CSG) One assets," said Lt. Cmdr. Christine Fletcher, Carl Vinson's training officer.

The group will need to demonstrate an ability to cohesively operate within a challenging, multi-warfare, joint, multinational and interagency environment in order to complete the integrated phase and deploy on schedule.

While underway, Carl Vinson and CVW 17 conducted 1,609 sorties with 761 of those at night. The ship also held its fifth consecutive Super Bowl party at sea and celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.