USS Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Arrives in Norfolk

More than 5,500 Sailors and Marines serving in the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG) arrived in Norfolk July 15, returning from a six-month deployment supporting operations in the Mediterranean and the Arabian Sea.

USS Enterprise (CVN 65), along with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), and the guided-missile destroyers USS Barry (DDG 52) and USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) returned to Naval Station Norfolk.

While deployed, Enterprise Strike Group served in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility, conducting missions from counter-piracy and counter-terrorism to Operation Odyssey Dawn, Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.

Enterprise and CVW-1 flew more than 1,450 sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation New Dawn in Iraq. Enterprise and the strike group ships also disrupted nine piracy attempts, resulting in the capture of 75 suspected pirates and the detention of 18 more.

“The ships of this strike group have done it all,” said Rear Adm. Terry B. Kraft, commander, CSG 12. “Simultaneous combat deployments to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility showed what these great Americans can do. They have earned a hero’s welcome here in Norfolk.”

The carrier, commanded by Capt. Dee L. Mewbourne, traveled nearly 60,000 miles after leaving Norfolk Jan. 13 to support theater security cooperation and maritime security cooperation efforts while deployed.

“Everything about this deployment has been unique,” said Mewbourne. “Our Sailors and Marines flexed to perform every mission asked of them to their highest ability, often with great innovation, and always with unqualified success. The crew answered their nation’s call with courage and grit, and I share in their tremendous pride of all we accomplished.”

Enterprise CSG is comprised of CSG 12, Enterprise, CVW-1, DESRON 2, Leyte Gulf, Barry, Bulkeley, and USS Mason (DDG 87). The squadrons of CVW-1 embarked in Enterprise are Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 “Red Rippers,” VFA-136 “Knighthawks,” VFA-211 “Fighting Checkmates,” Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251 “Thunderbolts,” Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123 “Screwtops,” Carrier Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 137 “Rooks,” Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 “Rawhides,” and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 11 “Dragonslayers.”

Mason is scheduled to return to Norfolk later this month.


Source: navy, July 18, 2011;