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Stennis CSG to Return Home

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS041028-08
Release Date: 10/30/2004 10:00:00 AM

From USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

ABOARD USS JOHN C. STENNIS (NNS) -- The USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Carrier Strike Group (JCS CSG) will return from a summer deployment to the Northern and Western Pacific Nov. 1, after spending five months operating at sea.

The strike group, comprised of five ships and a submarine, includes the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier John C. Stennis, guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83), frigate USS Ford (FFG 54), fast-attack submarine USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716) and the replenishment ship USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7).

The strike group began deployment May 24, heading to the Gulf of Alaska to participate in exercise Northern Edge 2004, a joint exercise with the U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps, followed by a goodwill port visit to Victoria, British Columbia.

JCS CSG continued to Hawaii for the biannual Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) hosted by Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet. More than 40 ships, seven submarines, 100 aircraft and nearly 18,000 Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Soldiers and Coast Guard personnel from seven nations participated in a myriad of naval air, surface, sub-surface and communications exercises on the high seas.

Following RIMPAC, JCS CSG and the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) Carrier Strike Group rendezvoused near Japan to conduct a joint air and sea training exercise (JASEX) as a part of the Navywide Summer Pulse '04 exercise. The exercise demonstrated the Navy's new operational construct for deploying naval forces as part of the Fleet Response Plan (FRP).

Under FRP, the Navy maintains the ability to simultaneously deploy six carrier strike groups (CSGs) in less than 30 days to support contingency operations around the world and have two more CSGs ready to support or relieve elements of the initial responding forces within three months.

The strike group then made goodwill visits in Southern Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.

Following departure from Port Klang, Malaysia, F/A-18 Hornets and F-14D Tomcats assigned to the strike group conducted aerial proficiency exercises over the South China Sea with Soviet-designed MiG-29 Fulcrums from the Royal Malaysian Air Force.

On the transit south toward Australia, members of the 67th Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC) visited Stennis Sept. 16 to experience a day of carrier operations at sea. JCOC is the only civilian-to-military orientation program sponsored by the Secretary of Defense.

Following JCOC, JCS CSG ships visited ports in Western Australia. Stennis, Howard, Lake Champlain and Rainier visited Fremantle/Perth, while Ford made a port visit to Bunbury.

The port visits in Australia were considered the highlight of the deployment by a majority of the crew.

When the strike group reached Hawaii on the journey home, more than 2,000 family and friends embarked strike group ships for a Tiger Cruise from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to the ships' respective homeports on the west coast.

The San Diego-based aircraft carrier Stennis, commanded by Capt. David Buss, is the center of the strike group and is the flagship for Rear Adm. Patrick Walsh, commander, Carrier Strike Group 7. Capt. John Christensen, commander, Destroyer Squadron 21 and Capt. Scott Craig, commander, Carrier Air Wing 14 are also embarked aboard Stennis.



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