USA: Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group Deploys 6,000 Sailors

The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG) and its nearly 6,000 Sailors departed Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Station Mayport, Fla., June 20, to support operations in the U.S. Navy’s 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.

The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), commanded by Capt. Marcus A. Hitchcock, and guided missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) deployed from Naval Station Norfolk. Guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66) and guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) deployed from Naval Station Mayport.

Hitchcock said the ship and its crew are in great spirits.

“Even though she is 35 years old, she is at the peak of her game with all the most current technology and the best gear,” said Hitchcock. “The ship and crew have been out for five months of the past year and they are really excited and ready to go do our job.”
Commanded by Rear Adm. Michael Manazir, IKE CSG is comprised of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8, embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28, Winston S. Churchill, Jason Dunham, Hue City and Farragut.

Manazir said that the striking power of the aircraft carrier is usually the main focus.

“We see the airplanes coming off and on the front end, but the DDG 51 Arleigh Burke class of destroyers is so flexible that we can send them in to do any mission,” said Manazir. “The full power of the strike group is only demonstrated when we are surrounded by our DDG 51 class destroyers and our Ticonderoga rover class cruisers like Hue City.”

The aircraft squadrons of CVW-7 embarked aboard IKE Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 143 “Pukin Dogs”, VFA-131 “Wildcats”, VFA-83 “Rampagers,” and VFA-103 “Jolly Rogers”, Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron 140 “Patriots”, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 121 “Bluetails”, Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 “Rawhides” and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 5 “Nightdippers.”

Working with allied and partner maritime forces, the IKE CSG deployment will focus heavily on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.

“These operations are designed to set regional stability and economic prosperity in those regions,” said Manazir.

IKE CSG has successfully completed a series of complex training events and certifications over the last several months to ensure they operate effectively and safely together.

Our flexibility and power comes from the training of our Sailors,” said Manazir. “We’ve been training since October of last year in complex operations, certifications and training exercises to make sure we are ready for deployment.”

Naval Today Staff , June 21, 2012