Harry S. Truman Strike Group
Harry S Truman Battle Group
CVN-75 Harry S. Truman
"HST" / "The Buck Stops Here"
Truman departed Naval Station Norfolk on its scheduled deployment, 16 November 2015, on what's expected to be a seven-month deployment as tensions rise in the fight against brutal so-called Islamic State group militants. Though the pump has been scheduled for more than a year, the recent terrorist attacks in France — and that nation's military response — was not lost on the 6,000 sailors headed to sea. Carrier Theodore Roosevelt left 5th Fleet in mid-October 2015, leaving that region without a carrier until the Truman CSG gets there.
The Navy in October 2014 bumped up her deployment date by nearly half a year as Truman took the place of the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower. Ike had a record-setting, 23-month yard period after back-to-back deployments from June 2012 to December 2012, and from February 2013 to July 2013, causing more maintenance than expected. Truman entered a shortened overhaul at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in November 2013. It was supposed to last 15 weeks and require 78,000 man-days, but nearly doubled to more than 28 weeks and 135,000 man-days. The expedited deployment also required the crew to get all qualifications in less than half the normal work-up time; the flattop's crew did one year's worth of training in five months and did so without one waiver.
On Jan. 12, two NAVCENT Riverine Command Boat (RCB) crews were tasked with the mission of relocating two RCBs from Kuwait to Bahrain, with a planned refueling en route alongside the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy. The two RCBs were traveling together since they train and deploy in two-boat elements. They departed Kuwait at 9:23 a.m. (GMT). The planned transit path for the mission was down the middle of the Gulf and not through the territorial waters of any country other than Kuwait and Bahrain.
The two RCBs were scheduled to conduct an underway refueling with the USCGC Monomoy in international waters at approximately 2 p.m. (GMT). At approximately 2:10 p.m. (GMT) NAVCENT received a report that the RCBs were being queried by Iranians. At approximately 2:29 p.m. (GMT) NAVCENT was advised of degraded communications with the RCBs. At 2:45 p.m. (GMT) NAVCENT was notified of a total loss of communications with the RCBs. Immediately, NAVCENT initiated an intensive search and rescue operation using both air and naval assets including aircraft from USS Harry S. Truman and the U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Coast Guard, U.K. Royal Navy and U.S. Navy surface vessels. At the time of the incident, two carrier strike groups were operating nearby. USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group was 45 miles southeast of Farsi Island and Charles de Gaulle carrier strike group was 40 miles north of Farsi Island. NAVCENT attempted to contact Iranian military units operating near Farsi Island by broadcasting information regarding their search and rescue effort over marine radio, and separately notified Iranian coast guard units via telephone about the search for their personnel. At 6:15 p.m. (GMT), U.S. Navy cruiser USS Anzio received a communication from the Iranians that the RCB Sailors were in Iranian custody and were "safe and healthy."
The Sailors departed Farsi Island at 8:43 a.m. (GMT) Jan. 13, aboard the two RCBs. The Sailors were later transferred ashore by U.S. Navy aircraft from the cruiser USS Anzio and the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. Other Sailors took charge of the RCBs and continued transiting toward Bahrain, the boats' original destination. The RCBs arrived in Bahrain at 10:38 p.m. (GMT) Jan. 13.
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived in the western part of the sea 08 June 2016 while the USS Harry S. Truman remained 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.
Approximately 6,000 Sailors from Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8 returned home July 13, after completing an eight-month combat deployment. Aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) with embarked CSG 8 staff, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68), Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28 staff and guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) and USS Gravely (DDG 107) pulled into Naval Station Norfolk following an extended deployment to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. USS Ramage (DDG 61) remained deployed and returned to Norfolk later in July.
The deployment was credited with supporting U.S. strategy to degrade the Islamic militant group, ISIL. "We received the best training in the world prior to deployment and were extraordinarily fortunate with the opportunities that presented themselves over the course of the last eight months. Being a part of this team, with the standards of professionalism sustained across the entire crew, is something I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life," said Rear Adm. Bret Batchelder, commander, Carrier Strike Group 8. As a result of OIR missions, analysts reported a significant reduction in funding operations and estimate up to 45 percent of territory in Iraq and 20 percent in Syria has been seized from the terrorist force. "Throughout deployment, more than 200 days at sea, the crew excelled in every opportunity to deliver direct and positive effects in theater, especially during Operation Inherent Resolve," said Capt. Ryan B. Scholl, Truman's commanding officer. "I couldn't be more proud of their performance."
Truman, the carrier strike group's flagship, began deployment conducting integrated carrier operations with the French Navy's Charles de Gaulle Strike Group over a six-week period in the Arabian Gulf. During the coalition fight against ISIL, Truman and embarked CVW-7 completed 2,054 combat sorties, expending 1,598 pieces of precision ordnance--the most carrier-based ordnance throughout OIR--to degrade ISIL resources and leadership. "The close-air-support sorties we conducted supported coalition forces, taking the fight to ISIL," said Capt. David Little, commander, CVW-7. "By engaging dynamic terrorist targets and delivering precision guided ordnance we contributed significantly to the coalition goals of ultimately destroying ISIL."
Anzio, commanded by Capt. Frank Castellano, served as Air-Missile Defense Commander and expertly managed the congested battle space in the Arabian Gulf to enable uninterrupted air strikes in support of OIR. "The technology employed on board escort vessels, such as Anzio, allowed for early and accurate identification of inbound air traffic," said Castellano. "This early identification enabled prompt de-confliction and appropriate action, if required, to ensure the safety and security of U.S. and partner forces operating in the region."
Strike group destroyers performed escort and maritime interdiction missions as well as seven partnership-enhancing exercises. In addition, Gravely partnered with patrol ship USS Sirocco (PC 6) to seize more than 1,500 suspected Iranian arms in transport to Houthi Rebels in Yemen. "The destroyers operating in Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28 conducted operations across a dispersed area, in support of OIR, theater security cooperation, and other national missions," said Capt. Derek Lavan, commander, DESRON-28. "In addition to escort duties for Truman, they demonstrated the Navy's flexibility and adaptability by successfully conducting simultaneous operations in the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation."
In June 2016, the strike group disaggregated to support OIR from both the Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea - marking the first time during OIR a U.S. carrier conducted air strikes from the Mediterranean. Although separated by distance, the strike group remained connected through seamless communications. "I'm extremely proud of the Combat Systems and Information Operations teams that performed brilliantly during deployment," said Capt. Rod Burley, information warfare commander. "Their efforts provided, by far, the best off ship connectivity I've experienced on any deployment. Individual unit teams worked around the clock to ensure networks were secure, protected, and defended." "The strike group was successful not only because of its exceptional Sailors, but because we were all part of a larger team effort," said Batchelder. "We had incredible collaboration across 65 nations and our joint partners, specifically the Combined Air and Space Operations Center, which is a testament to the global priority of OIR."
The squadrons of CVW-7 include the California-based "Wallbangers" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117, the "Fist of the Fleet" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 25, and the "Patriots" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140; the Virginia Beach-based "Rampagers" of VFA-83, the "Jolly Rogers" of VFA-103, the "Pukin' Dogs" of VFA-143, the "Rawhides" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 and the "Nightdippers" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5; and the Florida-based "Proud Warriors" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 72. Air Wing aircraft returned to their home stations July 12.
Batchelder summarized the feelings of the strike group's Sailors as CVW-7 launched their fly-off: "We can't thank our families and friends adequately for the love and support they provided over the entire deployment. They are patriots in the truest sense of the word and our many successes were built on their sacrifices and the strength they provided each and every day."
Carrier Strike Group Eight (CSG-8) received the Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) award, 11 March 2019, for its 2015-2016 deployment, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. The award was approved by the Honorable Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the Navy, “after the recommendations of the chain of command, including the Chief of Naval Operations, and the recommendation of the Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals,” according to a memorandum released by the Secretary of the Navy. All personnel assigned to CSG 8 between Nov. 16, 2015, and July 13, 2016, including the flagship Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28 and CSG-8 staff, are authorized to wear the MUC. More than 6,000 Sailors and Marines that deployed with the strike group will have the award added to their records.
“I am pleased to see the hardworking Sailors that took part in that deployment being rewarded,” said Senior Chief Navy Counselor James Osbourne. “The hard work and dedication of our Sailors and the drive to accomplish the mission was crucial to our success. I remember the deck plates humming 24 hours a day with Sailors doing their part to contribute to a successful deployment. I am glad to see them all be recognized. I know that in my career, that was the most impactful deployment I have ever been a part of.”
The MUC is awarded to a unit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services during a period of military operations against an armed enemy. From November 2015 to July 2016, CSG-8 and Harry S. Truman completed a record-setting deployment with 2,054 combat sorties that delivered more than 1,598 pieces of precision guided munitions, substantially degrading ISIS resources and leadership.
DESRON 28 units during the awarded period include: DESRON 28 staff, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68), and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and USS Gravely (DDG 107). CVW 7 units during the awarded period include: CVW 7 staff, the “Rampagers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 83, the “Jolly Rogers” of VFA 103, the “Fist of the Fleet” of VFA 25, the “Pukin’ Dogs” of VFA 143, the “Patriots” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, the “Wallbangers” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117, the “Proud Warrior” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 72, the “Nightdippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5 and the “Rawhides” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 detachment 3.
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