Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Group - MED 16 Deployment
Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG) departed for a regularly scheduled deployment, 01 June 2016. The strike group, led by aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), was scheduled to conduct operations in the U.S. Navy's 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. The deployment was part of an ongoing rotation of U.S. forces supporting maritime security operations in international waters around the globe.
"I have personally done this for 30 years and I have never seen a CSG more prepared or more motivated than the Eisenhower Strike Group," said Rear Adm. Jesse Wilson, commander, Ike CSG. Working with allied and partner maritime forces, Ike CSG units will focus heavily on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, which help establish conditions for regional stability. "We are trained and ready to do a whole host of naval and military operations that span the spectrum of warfare -- anything from the high-end fight all the way down to training with our partners in theater security cooperation and humanitarian assistance/disaster response -- but our bread and butter is maritime security operations," Wilson said.
The seven ships and nine aircraft squadrons of Ike CSG consist of approximately 7,100 Sailors who have spent the last six months conducting intensive training and certification exercises to establish a safe, cohesive organization capable of performing a wide variety of missions across the globe.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group consists of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26 staff, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Monterey (CG 61), and guided-missile destroyers USS Stout (DDG 55), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), USS Mason (DDG 87) and USS Nitze (DDG 94).
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived in the western part of the sea 08 June 2016 while the USS Harry S. Truman remains in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, where it arrived last week. The Truman and the Eisenhower will overlap territorial responsibilities for about 2½ weeks before the Truman heads back to the United States. The Eisenhower is deploying to the Navy’s 5th Fleet, which is responsible for naval forces in the Middle East. Eisenhower would be supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led coalition’s operation to defeat IS in Iraq and Syria, but it was unclear whether the Eisenhower would conduct anti-IS strikes from a position in the Mediterranean or from the Persian Gulf.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG) launched its first air strikes in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, 28 June 2016. Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, embarked aboard aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike), conducted strikes against the terrorist group ISIL in Libya and Syria.
Rear Adm. Jesse Wilson, Ike CSG commander, said the strikes are vital to support counter-terrorism efforts in the region. "The superb efforts made by the men and women of this crew will be critical to continuing this fight," Wilson said. "Ike CSG brings a flexible, mobile and lethal multi-mission capable force to work with our allies and partner nations to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to the region and wider international community."
The CVW-3 aircraft flying from Ike in the Eastern Mediterranean joined aircraft flying missions from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in the 5th Fleet area of operations. "Our current position gives more flexibility with our mission," said Capt. Jeffrey Anderson, commander, CVW 3. "It allows the air wing to fly sorties to support the ongoing effort to dismantle and roll back terrorist networks in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere."
Wilson credited the carrier strike group's readiness on the extensive training cycle leading up to deployment and the optimized fleet response plan (OFRP) process of generating ready forces. "This is why we train and deploy," Wilson said. "We're ready to support the mission wherever and whenever we're needed. We have a crew of highly-trained, warfighting professionals ready for this mission and with the support of our family and friends back home; I know we, along with our other regional and coalition partners, will be successful."
The crew of aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) reached a major milestone when they celebrated the halfway mark of the 2016 deployment, 15 September 2016. Prior to departing its homeport in Norfolk June 1, the longest time most of the crew had spent at sea was for the Composite Training Unit Exercise during the work-up cycle. "Honestly, I didn't really know what to expect," said Master-At-Arms 2nd Class Molly Meehan. "Once I got in the rhythm of deployment, I realized how efficient and helpful it was in reaching certain goals and obtaining qualifications. We're only halfway done and I feel like I've accomplished so much."
Many aboard Ike agree with Meehan that deployment has been an amazing opportunity to take time to study and earn qualifications that were difficult to obtain in port. For the last three months, non-qualified Sailors worked on earning their enlisted surface warfare specialist (ESWS), enlisted aviation warfare specialist (EAWS) and enlisted information dominance warfare (EIDWS) pins. Their drive and dedication have earned Ike the ESWS and EAWS pennant. "I am proud of the Sailors who put in the hard work to get their ESWS pins," said Chief Navy Career Counselor Jamie Gilbert, director of Ike's ESWS program. "With over 300 Sailors qualified since we left, I expect many more of our Sailors to get their pins during the second half of the deployment."
While working on shipboard qualifications and bettering themselves, the crew has also been relentless in support of its current mission, Operation Inherent Resolve. Everyone from the highest-ranking pilot to the lowest-ranking airman has contributed to nearly 900 combat sorties flown. "I've spent countless hours in the weapons magazine helping to build bombs," said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Jordan Ditro. "In the last few months, I've seen hundreds of bombs leave the ship and not come back. It's a really humbling thought that I'm part of something so big."
With 5,065 traps, 5,035 catapult shots and 5,021 aircraft launches, the flight deck has remained a busy hub for the past three months. In constant motion, Ike has executed nine strait transits and made port calls in three foreign countries while plowing through more than 25,000 nautical miles of water. The ship and crew have brought the safety and security that comes with a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the far reaches of the world. "We have been out here for a while," said Quartermaster 2nd Class Andrew Masino. "Reaching the halfway point of this deployment is a big accomplishment in that some of us have been away from our families for a while, but we still do our jobs with the utmost professionalism."
Ike CSG was the first CSG to deploy under the new optimized fleet response plan (OFRP), a cross-community collaboration effort to better prepare the fleet in meeting combatant commander needs without straining the ships, planes and Sailors. It is also the centerpiece of the Great Green Fleet for the second half of 2016, an initiative that demonstrates efforts to transform energy use and highlight it as a strategic resource. Ike and its CSG deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
More than 6,000 sailors from Carrier Strike Group 10 rang in the new year with their family and friends when they arrived at their homeports 30 December 2016 after completing a seven-month deployment. The strike group, while deployed in the 5th and 6th US Fleets, provided maritime security, conducted combat missions and launched F/A-18 strikes against ISIL insSyria and Iraq. The strike group's support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Odyssey Resolve and Operation Oaken Steel was integral to each mission's success. Along with Mason, Ike CSG includes CSG 10 staff, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26 staff, aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Monterey (CG 61), and DESRON 26 ships USS Stout (DDG 55), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) and Nitze.
Notable events during the deployment included a visit from the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to promote his Great Green Fleet initiative with the Chief of the Italian navy Adm. Guiseppe De Giorgi, anti-submarine operations in the Indian Ocean, conducting maritime security operations with French and Italian navies, defending Mason and other ships from anti-ship cruise missiles off the coast of Yemen and escorting French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Base One Europe in Derry, United Kingdom.
Guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) with embarked Combat Element (CEL) 3 from the "Swamp Foxes" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74 returned from a scheduled seven-month deployment, Dec. 30. Mason departed Naval Station Norfolk June 1, as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG) after an extensive assessment period of two years, during which training and certifications were met to prepare the ship and its crew for all it would encounter.
In October 2016, Mason received indications of inbound missile threats while operating in international waters of the Red Sea with amphibious transport dock USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and afloat forward staging base USS Ponce (ASFB(I) 15). Mason Sailors' training kicked in and they employed both soft-kill and hard-kill responses to defend the Sailors and the ships in company. USS Nitze (DDG 94) responded with limited defensive strikes and launched Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) against three radar sites on the Yemeni coast. The action was taken only to respond to Houthi militias' provocations on U.S. ships and limited the Houthi's capabilities in the strategic Bab al-Mandeb Strait, therefore ensuring the free flow of commerce throughout the region and the world.
Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG) departed the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations (AOO), 26 December 2016. The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)(Ike), guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56), and guided-missile destroyers USS Mason (DDG 87) and USS Nitze (DDG 94) concluded missions in the Mediterranean, which included maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts, and air support to Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). The carrier strike group primary missions were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) and theater security cooperation (TSC) efforts.
The Ike CSG launched its first air strikes in support of OIR from the eastern Mediterranean Sea, June 28 to July 7, followed by air strikes from the Arabian Gulf, July 28 to Nov. 25, and concluded air strikes from the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Dec. 6-12. The Ike CSG totaled 1,900 combat sorties for 12,315 flight hours throughout the six months of support efforts to OIR, including 215 air sorties and 995 ordnance expended while the ship was positioned in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
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