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USS Harry S. Truman prepares for third deployment in four years

A sailor performs maintenance on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman at Norfolk, Va., March 13, 2019.

MAXWELL HIGGINS/U.S. NAVY

By BROCK VERGAKIS | The Virginian-Pilot | Published: July 11, 2019

NORFOLK, Va. (Tribune News Service) — The USS Harry S. Truman is preparing for its third deployment in four years after finishing up one of the most unique aircraft carrier deployments in decades just late last year.

The Navy said the Truman headed out to sea last week to participate in a training exercise that will certify whether its entire strike group is ready for a variety of real-world scenarios they could face wherever they go. The exercise is similar to a final exam that signals a deployment is forthcoming.

The Truman returned from its last deployment in December and has been in what the Navy calls a sustainment phase since then, meaning it is still certified to deploy if called upon. But not every ship in its current strike group went on its most recent deployment.

The current exercise will work to ensure those ships — the destroyers USS Ramage and USS Lassen — are certified to deploy with the Truman and prepared for whatever missions the Navy has planned for them.

"This exercise will test our integrated strength as a multi-mission force," Rear Adm. Andrew J. Loiselle, the Truman Strike Group's commander, said in a statement. "The comprehensive training evolutions are an opportunity to grow as a team, both in our ability to sustain prolonged periods at sea and to find areas where we can improve."

The Navy has not publicly said when the Truman will deploy, where it will go or how long its deployment will last.

Last year, the Truman sailed into the Arctic and returned to Norfolk for a short time before returning to sea for a few more months. That deployment was part of a Defense Department plan to make aircraft carrier deployments less predictable after decades of routinely sending Norfolk-based aircraft carriers through the Mediterranean Sea on their way to the Persian Gulf and back.

Other ships in the strike group include the destroyers USS Forrest Sherman and USS Farragut. The cruiser USS Normandy also is part of the strike group and returned to sea Monday after spending the weekend in port to conduct unspecified repairs, according to the Navy's Second Fleet.

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