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George Washington Strike Group MED 04 Deployment
GWSTRKGRU / GWCSG
CVN-73 George Washington
"Spirit of Freedom"

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), returned to Norfolk, Va., Dec. 19, 2003 after 40 days at sea, where she successfully completed her Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX). The GWSTRKGRU is comprised of Destroyer Squadron 28 and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS Ross (DDG 71), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Elrod (FFG 55) and USNS Supply (T-AOE 6).

The exercise involved more than 7,600 Sailors operating off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Having completed this final phase of the training cycle, the strike group assumed surge status and is fully qualified to take the battle to any arena in the world.

During this aggressive work-up cycle, the training was compressed to support the Chief of Naval Operation's new Fleet Readiness Plan (FRP). FRP calls for six surge carrier strike groups to be ready at any time, with two more ready shortly thereafter.

The Navy announced on January 13, 2004 that the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group would depart for a routine deployment Jan. 20 in support of the global war on terrorism.

The George Washington made a port visit at Souda Bay, Crete beginning on February 6 thru February 10, 2004. GW shared the port visit with USS Vella Gulf. By February 12, the George Washington was at sea and transited the Suez Canal on or about February 16. The GW was operating in the Red Sea on February 17.

On February 20 the George Washington enterred the Gulf of Aden, three days later on the 23rd the GW was operating in North Arabian Sea. On February 27, 2004 the George Washington was passing through the Gulf of Oman, and by early March, she and other elements of the Carrier Strike Group were conducting operations in the Persian Gulf.

On April 8, F/A-18 Hornets from Carrier Air Wing Seven participated in Operation Vigilant Resolve. One of the Naval Air Station Oceana-based "Wildcats" from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131 conducted a 20-mm strafing run against an enemy position. Another VFA-131 Hornet dropped two 500-pound GBU-12 laser-guided bombs on another enemy position in Fallujah, Iraq, on April 9. This was the first live ordnance dropped by CVW-7 aircraft since George Washington deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom on January 20.

After traveling more than 51,000 nautical miles and spending six months at sea, USS George Washington (CVN 73) (GW) completed its sixth Mediterranean and Persian Gulf deployment and returned home to Norfolk, Va., July 26.

On Sept. 13, 2004, USS George Washington (CVN 73) (GW) Sailors returned to sea to perform carrier qualifications, conduct training drills and fine tune their warfighting skills, in order to keep the surge carrier in top form if the need to deploy should arise.

USS George Washington (CVN 73) (GW) welcomed Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122 "Flying Eagles," the Fleet Replacement Squadron for the Navy's newest fighter, the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, on Nov. 3, 2004. It was the first time the fighters had been launched and recovered on the carrier. George Washington was at the time the Navy's surge carrier and was to remain so until some time in December 2004. Following the holiday standdown period, the ship was scheduled to move to Newport News Shipyard for upgrade and maintenance.

USS George Washington (CVN 73) (GW) began an underway period Nov. 2, marking the third underway period for the surge carrier since returning from deployment in July. With one underway remaining this year, the objectives while under way were to be obtaining carrier qualifications (CQs) and training carrier qualifications (TCQs), a substantial ammunition offload and an annual reactor inspection, all of which would help this underway signify the closing of GW's surge status. Over the following two weeks, GW was to help new pilots earn their wings by helping them with their training carrier qualifications. These TCQs are the essential last step in any pilot's certification process. Long-time pilots are also doing CQs as refresher training.

Chronology

    01 Dec 2004 - Atlantic Ocean
    Surge carrier until ~Dec04
    13 Sep 2004 - Atlantic Ocean
    26 Jul 2004 - Washington Home
    19 Jul 2004 - Atlantic Ocean
    14 Jul 2004 - Port visit @ Naples, Italy
    12 Jul 2004 - Mediterranean Sea
    8 Jul 2004 - Red Sea
    7 Jul 2004 - Arabian Sea
    Mar 2004 - Persian Gulf
    27 Feb 2004 - Gulf of Oman
    23 Feb 2004 - North Arabian Sea
    20 Feb 2004 - Gulf of Aden
    17 Feb 2004 - Red Sea
    12 Feb 2004 - Mediterranean Sea
    09 Feb 2004 - Port visit, Souda Bay
    02 Feb 2004 - Mediterranean Sea
    20 Jan 2004 - Deploys
    22 Dec 2003 - Norfolk
    mid Dec 2003 - Achieves Surge Status
    09 Nov 2003 - COMPTUEX
    09 Nov 2003 - Atlantic Ocean
    29 Oct 2003 - Norfolk
    16 Oct 2003 - Atlantic Ocean / TSTA
    26 Sep 2003 - Returns to Norfolk
    25 Sep 2003 - Atlantic Ocean
    2? Sep 2003 - Returns to Norfolk
    09 Sep 2003 - Departs Norfolk
    29 Aug 2003 - Returns to Norfolk
    21 Aug 2003 - Departs Norfolk
    15 Aug 2003 - Returns to Norfolk?
    13 Aug 2003 - Departs Norfolk
    Jul/Aug 2003 - Completes Yard period
    25 Feb 2003 - Enters Yard
    24 Jan 2003 - Carrier Quals



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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:43:57 ZULU