US Navy aircraft carrier enters Pacific for RIMPAC 2016

The U.S. Navy’s John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) crossed the International Date Line and entered the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations on June 25 ahead of RIMPAC 2016.

Ships assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier are set to take part in the world’s largest exercise in waters of Hawaii.

Comprised of approximately 7,000 Sailors, JCSSG entered U.S. 7th Fleet, February 4, and spent the majority of time operating in the South China Sea.

“The strike group has accomplished our mission in 7th Fleet, fulfilling a vital role in a region the U.S. Navy has operated in for a century and a half,” said Rear Adm. Marcus A. Hitchcock, JCSSG commander. “I am very proud of our Sailors, and I look forward to watching them excel during the upcoming Rim of the Pacific exercise, when they have the opportunity to operate with maritime professionals from 26 different nations.”

During the deployment, JCSSG has been operating as the centerpiece of the Great Green Fleet, using energy efficiency measures, including technologies and procedures, to highlight the Navy’s efforts to transform its energy use to increase operational capability.

The strike group participated in a number of exercises, training, integrating and building capacity with allies in the 7th Fleet region as part of an ongoing rotation of U.S. forces supporting maritime security operations in waters around the world.

In March, JCSSG and other U.S. military forces worked alongside the Republic of Korea armed forces during exercise Foal Eagle. Their time in the area also included passing exercises with the French Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and wrapped up with Malabar 2016, a trilateral maritime exercise with the Indian Navy, JMSDF and U.S. Navy in June and dual carrier operations with the Ronald Reagan Strike Group.

JCSSG consists of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21 embarked, the guided-missile destroyers USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), and USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), and the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53).