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NNS020816-09. JFK Battle Group Returns From Deployment

From Commander, Second Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- More than 7,000 Sailors assigned to the ships and squadrons of the USS John F. Kennedy Aircraft Carrier Battle Group (CVBG) are returning to their East Coast homeports and bases this week, completing a six-month combat deployment in the Arabian Gulf, in addition to operations in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), the guided missile cruisers USS Hue City (CG 66) and USS Vicksburg (CG 69), along with the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), will return to their homeport of Naval Station Mayport, Fla. Saturday, Aug. 17, while the embarked squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 7 flew off Wednesday, Aug. 14, as they approached Hampton Roads. USS Seattle (AOE 3), a fast combat support ship home ported in Norfolk, arrived pierside Aug. 16.

The Kennedy CVBG, commanded by Rear Adm. Steven J. Tomaszeski, departed their homeport of Naval Station Mayport, Fla., Feb. 7, relieved the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) CVBG in early March and flew their first combat missions over Afghanistan March 11, their first day on station.

Kennedy completed its 17th deployment, highlighted by participation in Operation Enduring Freedom, where they delivered more than 64,000 pounds of ordnance on Taliban and Al Qaeda targets. Carrier Air Wing 7 aircraft flew a total of 2,599 day and night missions in support of Coalition Forces over Afghanistan.

"We were all privileged to have had the opportunity to serve our country at this time in our nation's history. Nothing is more exhilarating for our Sailors than to be at sea carrying out the Navy's mission of projecting precision power against those who would do us harm," said Rear Adm. Steven Tomaszeski, commander, Carrier Group Six. "I am extremely proud of every man and woman in this battle group for their efforts and personal sacrifices during this six month deployment. They know they made a difference in this long-term war against terrorism. For a battle group that ironically began training for deployment Sept. 11, it has been a very consequential time for us all."

In addition to Kennedy's conventional war-fighting role, the flagship also served as a command and control platform for Maritime Interception (MIO) and Leadership Interdiction Operations (LIO).

Throughout the course of the deployment, Kennedy safely navigated 160 days at sea covering 69,050 miles of water and completed more than 9,100 aircraft traps/recoveries.

Other Kennedy CVBG ships include: USS Carney (DDG 64), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), USS Spruance (DD 963), USS Underwood (FFG 36) and USS Taylor (FFG 50); all are Mayport-based, remain deployed and will return at a date yet to be determined. Two attack submarines are also members of Kennedy's CVBG: USS Toledo (SSN 769), home ported in Groton, Conn., and Norfolk-based USS Boise (SSN 764).

For more news about USS John F. Kennedy Aircraft Carrier Battle Group, visit their custom Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cv67.

For more news about 2nd Fleet, visit their custom Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/c2f.

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