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Harry S. Truman Strike Group MED 03 Deployment
CVN-75 Harry S. Truman
"HST" / "The Buck Stops Here"

Completing a successful round of sea trials Feb. 26 following its first shipyard six-month maintenance period, USS Harry S Truman ended the most successful shipyard availability ever held at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The three-year-old carrier left the shipyard in Portsmouth, Va. ahead of schedule and under budget. The maintenance period, known as a Planned Incremental Availability, was the first of many the three year-old carrier will see during her planned 50 years of service. The PIA was performed at a cost of $110 million and saw the installation of a ninth air conditioning plant. Another major accomplishment was the alteration to each of HST's catapults.

By the end of August 2002, the Truman had begun TSTA at which point it welcomed a visit by former President George H.W. Bush.

Ships and aircraft of the Harry S Truman Carrier Battle Group commenced use of the Vieques Island inner range in conjunction with their Composite Unit Training Exercise in early September 2002. COMPTUEX was completed by Sept 25th. After COMPTUEX, HST anchored off the coast of Key West, Fla., for it's off-again/on-again scheduled port visit.

Following its return to Norfolk, the HST stood down for a short period before beginning Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX), which is scheduled to begin in early November 2002.

The Virginian-Pilot reported on November 29 that the Truman will depart on December 5, 2002. The Navy confirmed that most of the Sailors and Marines will deploy from the Hampton Roads area and relieve the USS George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Battle Group, whose return date has not yet been announced.

Following the intense work-up cycle, Truman embarked on its final training phase. Operating off the coast of Florida, Truman participated in JTFEX 03-1. After successfully completing the exercise, the crew enjoyed a liberty port visit to Key West, Fla.

Truman embarked on its second deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom Dec. 5, 2002. Tensions with Iraq were at an all-time high as the Truman team prepared itself for the possibility of conflict. In early February 2003, Truman took up station in the eastern Mediterranean. Their skills sharpened, the Truman team waited for word to launch strikes against Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. When the order came in the late-night hours of March 19, the mission was no longer training. Truman successfully launched 1,280 sorties and dropped more than 700 tons of ordnance in support of special operations forces in northern Iraq and helped liberate the people of Iraq.

Truman was relieved of its duties in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom April 18, 2003. The ship returned to a hero's welcome at Naval Station Norfolk May 23, 2003, with more than 20,000 loved ones waiting on the pier to welcome the crew home.

On April 7, 2004 USS Harry S. Truman was awarded the East Coast Battle Efficiency Award by Commander, Naval Air Forces, Atlantic Fleet, for the calendar year 2003.


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