Enterprise Strike Group MED 07 Deployment
"Big E" / "Ready on Arrival"
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 departed Naval Station Norfolk for a regularly scheduled deployment 07 July 2007 in support of the global war on terrorism. This was Enterprise's second deployment within the past 14 months. Big E returned from her most recent deployment 18 November 2006. As the Navy's surge carrier, Big E continues to remain ready at all times to deploy at a moment's notice. Constant training keeps Sailors and Marines stationed aboard the 45-year-old carrier and the embarked squadrons primed to fight any battle, whether against enemy aircraft in the sky or supporting ground troops in the global war on terrorism.
Months after their November 2006 homecoming, Big E Sailors kept busy with a rigorous training schedule which included numerous carrier qualifications as well as a Board and Inspection Survey in April 2007. "Our enemies are persistent and relentless, and in order to win the fight against terrorism, we must be persistent and relentless as well," said Capt. Larry Rice, Enterprise commanding officer. "We must keep our minds sharp and focused on the mission."
The USS Enterprise returned to sea 30 April 2007 for a cycle of carrier qualifications, following a four-week in port period for Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) preparations and inspections. Enterprise was last at sea 19 March through 01 April 2007 to conduct carrier qualifications with training squadrons from Naval Air Training, headquartered at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas. For approximately two weeks, Enterprise was home to a few new squadrons as the pilots of the fleet replenishment squadrons train for carrier landings at sea. Enterprise also hosted Commander, Fleet Forces change of command ceremony as well as hers own change of command ceremony 18 May 2007.
Enterprise is the flagship for Carrier Strike Group 12, which included the guided-missile destroyers USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), USS James E. Williams (DDG 95), USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) and USS Stout (DDG 55); the guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64); and the fast-attack submarine USS Philadelphia (SSN 690) all based in Norfolk, and also the fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 6) based in Earle, N.J. There were nearly 7,500 Sailors and Marines in the strike group.
In addition to being the flagship of the strike group, Enterprise was also home to CVW 1. The air wing is comprised of the "Checkmates" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 211 flying the F/A-18 Super Hornet and the "Knighthawks" of VFA-136; the "Sidewinders" of VFA-86; the "Thunderbolts" of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 all flying the F/A-18 Hornet. Also joining CVW 1 are the "Dragonslayers" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 11 flying the SH-60 Seahawk; the "Rooks" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137 flying the EA-6B Prowler; the "Screwtops" of VAW-123 flying the E-2C Hawkeye; the "Maulers" of Sea Control Squadron (VS) 32 flying the S-3B Viking; and the "Rawhides" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 flying the C-2A Greyhound.
After getting underway on July 7, Enterprise and all of its embarked members traveled across the Atlantic Ocean and into the 6th Fleet AOR, where they hosted the French Chief of Naval Operations as well as the U.S. Ambassador to France to observe a historic landing and launch of a French Rafale F2 jet. This was the first time a French strike aircraft had landed on board a U.S. carrier. Enterprise then became the first American carrier to pull into a French port in six years when it stopped for a three-day port visit in Cannes, France.
The Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG) entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations 01 August 2007 to conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in regional waters and provide air support to ground forces operating in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Enterprise CSG is part of the ongoing rotation of U.S. warships to the region. Their arrival demonstrated the United States' resolve to enhance security and support long-term stability in the region. MSO helps set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists the use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other materials.
Enterprise shifted its focus East to combat operations in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility in support of OIF and OEF, where it would spend 55 straight days at sea before making the first of its three port calls in Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates. During its time in combat, ENTSG aircraft flew more than 7,500 missions and made more than 6,500 arrested landings. In support of the troops on the ground, ENTSG pilots dropped 73 air-to-ground weapons and fired 4,149 rounds of 20mm ammunition. "This was the second extended combat deployment for Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 in a mere 20 months and the team performed superbly," said Capt. Mark Wralstad, CVW-1 commander. For members of the strike group's leadership, there was one event during the deployment that defined not only what ENTSG is all about, but also what the carriers bring to the Navy and the nation. While conducting operations in the North Persian Gulf in support of OIF and OEF, Enterprise received an order to make an immediate change to the mission at hand. "Admiral Holloway called me on the phone at 1:30 in the morning and said, 'Captain, after the helo (helicopter) lands, we need to turn south, out through the Straits of Hormuz, to conduct Operation Enduring Freedom flight ops,'" said Enterprise's Commanding Officer, Capt. Ron Horton. "Thirty-six hours after he made that call to me, we were launching aircraft into Afghanistan."
There are a lot of little things that need to be done to keep a warship like Enterprise and a strike group like ENTSG going throughout a deployment. The Sailors and Marines on board completed 26 underway replenishments, receiving more than 12 million gallons of fuel; cooked and served approximately 4 million meals totaling more than $11 million; performed more than 4,200 preventative and corrective maintenance actions on the catapults and arresting gear to keep CVW-1 aircraft in the sky; transferred 3,960 pallets of cargo and hosted 303 distinguished visitors during 19 visits.
The crew members of the ENTSG were able to accomplish more than just success in combat. Approximately 1,300 Navy College Program for Afloat College Education classes were completed; more than 300 Sailors were advanced; Sailors earned nearly 900 warfare pins and 304 Sailors reenlisted for almost $11 million in reenlistment bonuses.
Enterprise Strike Group (ENTSG), led by the strike group commander, Rear Adm. Dan Holloway, returned to its homeport of Norfolk, 19 December 2007 after a five-month deployment in support of Maritime Security Operations, Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF), Iraqi oil platform protection, anti-piracy operations and the struggle against violent extremists. The more than 5,500 Sailors and Marines aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) traveled approximately 48,646 miles throughout the course of the deployment, doing everything from combat operations to diplomatic relations missions in the 6th and 5th fleet areas of responsibility (AOR).
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