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USS John C. Stennis Strike Group Deploys for Pacific Operations

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS040525-07

Release Date: 5/25/2004 2:54:00 PM

By Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- More than 6,200 Sailors from the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) departed from San Diego May 24 to conduct operations in the Eastern and Western Pacific for joint and combined operations in support of the global war on terrorism, and to carry out assignments as directed by the nation's leaders.

The Stennis CSG includes the aircraft carrier Stennis, the Aegis-equipped guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83), guided-missile frigate USS Ford (FFG 54), Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716) and the replenishment ship USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7). All of the ships of the Stennis CSG are homeported in San Diego, with the exception of USS Ford (FFG 54), homeported in Everett, Wash., and USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7), homeported in Bremerton, Wash.

Stennis is the flagship for Commander, Carrier Group 7, Rear Adm. Patrick Walsh. On deployment, Stennis is also home to Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21, commanded by Capt. John Christenson, and Commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14, commanded by Capt. Scott Swift.

Capt. David Buss of Lancaster, Penn., commands Stennis at the center of the strike group. The ship carries approximately 3 million gallons of fuel for 70 aircraft and three escort ships, and enough weapons and stores for extended operations without replenishment. The massive flight deck covers 4.5 acres and looms almost seven stories above the water.

Stennis's embarked air wing consists of the following types of aircraft: F/A-18 Hornet, F/A-18E Super Hornet, F-14 Tomcat, EA-6B Prowler, S-3 Viking, E-2C Hawkeye and SH-60 Seahawk. These aircraft can be used to conduct strikes, support land battles, protect the strike group or other friendly shipping, and implement a sea or air blockade. The ship's two nuclear reactors give it virtually unlimited range and endurance and a top speed in excess of 30 knots. The ship's four catapults and four arresting gear engines enable it to launch and recover aircraft rapidly and simultaneously. The Stennis CSG provides a visible presence to demonstrate resolve in a crisis.

This is the first deployment for the Stennis CSG in two years. However, the ship's air wing returned from an historic 10-month deployment embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in May 2003.

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