John C. Stennis carrier strike group completes group sail

US Navy ships from Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3 have completed a group sail maneuver, working together for the first time in over two years.

Led by aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), the CSG included Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) and ships from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21.

DESRON 21 includes USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS Spruance (USS 111), and USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93).

During the group sail, the ships conducted counter piracy and maritime interdiction training, formation maneuvering, replenishments at sea, strait transits, anti-surface, anti-submarine and anti-air exercises, as well as strike mission training exercising the full range of strike group capabilities.

“The carrier strike group is in high demand to meet national requirements as we provide an incredibly powerful diplomatic and power projection tool for our nation,” said Rear Adm. Michael Wettlaufer, commander, CSG 3. “Group sail is a major step in preparing and training this force. Over the past two weeks we were able to closely coordinate planning and activities to demonstrate our capabilities and, most importantly, learn to operate safely and effectively together.”

Group sail was the first opportunity for the different warfare commanders to execute command and control over the full range of capabilities inherent to the strike group.

“During group sail we began to increase the tempo and complexity of our operations, both as the Strike Warfare Commander, projecting naval power ashore, and in support of the other warfare areas,” said Capt. Steven Hejmanowski, commander, CVW 9.

With five ships, more than 50 aircraft and more than 6,000 sailors, carrier strike groups can carry out simultaneous missions across multiple mission areas.

“Before we came together for group sail, all of our units had conducted training with some of the others, but never all together,” said Capt. Henry Adams, commodore, DESRON 21. “But it isn’t until we came together again that we could really exercise our full capabilities and begin to regain the honed edge of expertise across the wide range of missions uniquely brought by the combination of an aircraft carrier, destroyer squadron, carrier air wing and guided missile cruiser.”

Photo: USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), right, conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187), with CSG 3 ships in the background. Photo: US Navy