A few days ago we presented some speculation on what the final deployment of the 50 year old USS Enterprise aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea may mean from a strategic standpoint, today we get to hear it from the US Navy itself. And just when we thought we had heard it all, we now get confirmation that the farcism that has defined capital markets for the past 3 years is slowly migrating to military planning. "The carrier and its entourage of support ships are in the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere east of Florida, with land completely out of sight. But for the purposes of the drill, they’re cruising near the fictitious Treasure Coast. Maps displayed on the bridge’s monitors show the contours of the Eastern Seaboard, the Gulf of Mexico and a good chunk of the Midwest, but all state borders have been removed and replaced with a handful of countries that come with their own boundaries and political allegiances. Enterprise and its strike group are focused on Garnet and North Garnet, countries that support terrorism on the Treasure Coast. They’re fundamentalist Shahida states — a faux-theocracy — and they want to reunite with Pyrope, one of the nine other made-up countries. On Enterprise, intelligence analysts evaluate the situation, fighter squadrons plan sorties, and the ship’s newspaper, “The Shuttle,” prints an extra section that details the international political situation. It’s a novella set at sea that grows more complex as hours past. “Those pesky Garnetians,” strike group commander Rear Adm. Walter Carter Jr. told sailors after a day packed with maneuvers, launches and landings."
But lest anyone get the pesky though that this is all just a ridiculous way to hide the true ambitions of the carrier, we get the following: "The Navy says the training isn’t specifically tailored to a possible U.S.-Iran scenario.“We’re training for all the mission areas,” said Rear Adm. Dennis FitzPatrick, commander of Strike Force Training Atlantic. Those include anti-submarine warfare and counterpiracy missions." But then again: "The drills do have applications for potential tension with Iran, however. Treasure Coast includes a fake strait about 200 miles east of Orlando that, like the Strait of Hormuz, is about 35 miles wide at its narrowest point.“There obviously is an emphasis on where we think the ship will go,” FitzPatrick said."
More humor from the Navy Times on what is currently going on at the USS Enterprise:
Capt. William Hamilton stands on the footrest of his chair on the bridge, looking through a window and down at the flight deck below. A mechanical pencil, a notebook and an iPod Touch with a stopwatch program are all within arm’s reach.
The skipper is trying to prove his ship can quickly launch and recover airplanes, one of the requirements to certify the Navy’s oldest carrier as ready for its 22nd and final deployment.
The 50-year-old Enterprise is expected to deploy this spring to 5th Fleet. The launch-and-recovery drills at the end of January were part of a composite unit training exercise, a comprehensive final exam designed to prepare the carrier and its strike group for any type of operation, emphasizing those it is most likely to encounter when it deploys.
Besides launching and landing aircraft, the strike group is preparing to rescue fishermen captured by pirates, much like ships of the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group have done recently. The ships also are practicing cruising through contested straits, a drill that will prepare them for any possible tension with Iran as they pass through the Strait of Hormuz.
An aircraft carrier... the third one in the region...being used to "rescue fisherman captured by pirates"... :0
The farce goes on:
When Hamilton isn’t watching the flight deck, he squints behind his wire frame glasses and scribbles details into the notebook or clicks off splits with the stopwatch app. He’s like a baseball statistician tracking every pitch, hoping that his team is ahead of the count. He wants each launch and trap to take a minute or less, and he knows how close each one comes down to two decimal places.
For now, Hamilton is fixated on launching and recovering aircraft as quickly as possible. Timing is important because the ship must hold a steady course and speed during such operations, making its movements predictable and an easier target for an attack. The faster the carrier can launch and recover aircraft, the sooner the ship can take evasive maneuvers and throw off enemies.
Even though one of the forward catapults is down for repairs, things are working out well for Hamilton. Then the evaluator throws him a knuckleball: There’s an issue with a tanker, and they need to figure out a solution. It will cost the carrier time, but it will train the crew to handle complications that could occur during a real mission. The evaluator diplomatically tells Hamilton that he shouldn’t worry about it hurting his score — he’s just a few minutes into his launch cycle but already ahead of schedule.
Frankly, we are at a point where we fail to see where reality ends and where The Onion begins. For anyone who wishes to befriend CVN-65 Enterprise on facebook can do so here.