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George H.W. Bush Strike Group MED 17 Deployment
CVN-77 George H.W. Bush

The ship was in port in Norfolk, Virginia 05 October 2017, conducting routine maintenance after a seven-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.

The flagship of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), departed Naval Station Norfolk 21 Januayr 2017 along with the nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 22 staff, and the guided-missile cruisers and destroyers USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), USS Hue City (CG 66), USS Laboon (DDG 58) and USS Truxtun (DDG 103). During the deployment, Bush traveled 56 thousand miles and dropped more than 1.7 million pounds of ordnance in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. The Eisenhowers replacement carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush, was delayed by more than six months in the shipyards and will not be able to replace the Ike until early 2017. The crew of USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), flagship of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG), had proven they are ready to enter the fight once again with the successful conclusion of composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX), 21 December 2016. The 3-week-long assessment tested the ship's ability to collaborate with other ships in the strike group based on real-world situations. GHWBCSG conducted various exercises and completed evaluations to certify the CSG for deployment.

"COMPTUEX provides the entire strike group the opportunity to stress our systems and test our tactics and teamwork in combat scenarios before actually entering combat," said Capt. William Pennington, commanding officer of USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). "I was extremely impressed with the way our Sailors and our embarked teammates handled themselves under some very dynamic and challenging situations." COMPTUEX tested and evaluated GHWBCSG assets through complex, scenario-based training exercises. The dynamic nature of COMPTUEX brought Sailors as close to real scenarios as possible within a training environment.

"Each evolution mimicked potential real-world engagement," said Pennington. "Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 4 threw the kitchen sink at us and the confidence we gained in our systems, tactics, and teamwork will serve us well on deployment." GHWBCSG conducted many evolutions during COMPTUEX to include medical emergency drills, propulsion plant drills, live-fire drills, general quarters drills, straits transits, and inspections. The exercise flexed the strike group's anti-surface, anti-subsurface, anti-air, and electronic warfare capabilities.

With COMPTUEX complete, GHWB and the rest of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG) are mission-ready and set to deploy early in 2017. The GHWBCSG is comprised of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush; staffs of Carrier Strike Group 2, Carrier Air Wing 8 and its squadrons; Destroyer Squadron 22 staff and its destroyers; and guided-missile cruisers USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and USS Hue City (CG 66). Pre-deployment exercises better prepare the Navy's strike groups to safely and effectively further the goals of America's maritime strategy.

George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG) departed for its third deployment, 21 January 2017. The strike group, led by aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), and its nearly 6,000 Sailors would 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 world.

Working with allied and partner maritime forces, GHWBCSG units focused heavily on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts which help establish conditions for regional security.

"The flexibility of our maritime force is second to none," said Rear Adm. Kenneth R. Whitesell, commander, CSG 2. "We've trained and we're ready to operate and fight decisively, and we embody the core attributes of the Navy of integrity, accountability, initiative, and toughness. We are ready, and I am proud to lead this force."

GHWBCSG includes embarked squadrons Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22.

GHWB spent the past five months conducting intensive training and certification exercises to establish a safe, cohesive organization capable of performing a wide variety of missions across the globe, ranging from counter-piracy and ground support operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

This was the third deployment for the Navy's last Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which became combat-ready after the successful completion of Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX).

"We are absolutely ready to go," said Capt. Will Pennington, CVN 77's commanding officer. "In addition to the local Navy infrastructure, there is a tremendous amount of support that's required to get this done; a lot of DoD (Department of Defense) civilians and other entities, and we have gotten fabulous support from them. Our readiness to go today is a testament to them, as well as our Sailors that are on board."

In the first 12 days of the Bush's counter-IS fight, pilots launching off its deck carried out 184 strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. Some experienced Navy pilots, including Lieutenant Commander Scott Welles, flew every day the ship conducted strikes.

The aircraft carrier's commanding officer, Captain Will Pennington, said his sailors were on an operational pace at the "lower end of perfect" and could do more if needed. "In terms of the number of sorties that we can generate per day or the amount of ordnance that each aircraft is carrying, we're not approaching our top-end capacity right now". The carrier is used for both pre-planned strikes and dynamic strikes, where targets being looked at are determined to be valid targets while the pilots are in the area.

Sailors of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG) got to experience wonders while on a 23 March 2017 Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) tour of Athens and a few of the surrounding areas. From a historical standpoint, Athens is considered to be the birthplace of democracy. The Western world as we know it looks at the ancient civilization as the foundation of everything that came afterward. It's no surprise then that the city is a popular tourist attraction, for the history, the scenery, culture and the overall experience. Sailors of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG) got to experience these wonders while on a Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) tour of Athens and a few of the surrounding areas. The tour included a walkthrough of historical sites that most people only learned about in school. It was an opportunity to connect with the past and those who set a precedent for the rest of western civilization.

The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) arrived in Mayport, Florida, to embark friends and family members of GHWB Sailors for a Tiger Cruise, August 19-21 as it makes the transit to its homeport in Norfolk. A Tiger Cruise is an opportunity for family and friends to see up-close what the Navy, and their Sailors do on a day-to-day basis. Nearly 800 guests or "Tigers" arrived aboard GHWB and reunited with Sailors that they haven't seen since the ship embarked on its deployment, Jan. 21. The ship and its carrier strike group were transiting home from a scheduled seven-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.



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