USS Gerald R. Ford wraps up its maiden deployment

The first-in-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), flagship of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG), returned to Naval Station Norfolk, after successfully completing its inaugural deployment on 26 November.

The flagship set sail from Norfolk, Virginia, on 4 October, and traveled more than 9,275 nautical miles with GRFCSG.

Photo: US Navy

During the scheduled deployment, Ford operated with Canada, Denmark, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden, to strengthen interoperability, while conducting a range of maritime operations and exercises.

“This deployment brought together an incredible group of Allies and partners with one single focus – to contribute to a peaceful, stable, and conflict-free Atlantic region through our combined naval power,” said Vice Adm. Dan Dwyer, commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet and Joint Force Command Norfolk.

While deployed, GRFCSG participated in Exercise Silent Wolverine, demonstrating high-end naval warfare and integrated NATO interoperability in the maritime approaches to Europe.

Silent Wolverine was an opportunity for Ford to train and test capabilities.

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“Through integrated and combined operations such as live and inert ordnance expenditure by Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and air defense, we set the stage for operating with Ford-class technologies in a deployed environment. We completed more than 1,250 sorties, expended 78.3 tons of ordnance, and completed 13 underway replenishments – and we accomplished this because of what Ford-class aircraft carriers bring to the fight,” said Capt. Paul Lanzilotta, Ford’s commanding officer.

Ford made their first international port visit in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and their first European port visit in Portsmouth, U.K.

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The sailors participating in Ford’s first deployment integrated multiple foreign nations’ ships into the strike group to operate together efficiently.

The U.S. commands and units that participated in the GRFCSG deployment include; CSG 12, CVW 8, Destroyer Squadron 2, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS McFaul (DDG 74) and USS Ramage (DDG 61) stationed at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) stationed at Naval Station Mayport in Mayport, Florida.

Photo: US Navy