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Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group Returns from Deployment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070523-25
Release Date: 5/23/2007 6:42:00 PM


By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman (SW) Seth Scarlett and Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Carla Morton, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

ONBOARD USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (NNS) -- Nearly 6,000 Sailors from Eisenhower (Ike) Carrier Strike Group's (CSG) ships and aircraft squadrons returned home May 23 after successfully completing an extended deployment of almost eight months.

Eisenhower CSG deployed Oct. 3 in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF) and in support of maritime security operations (MSO) in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).

“I’m extremely proud of our nearly 6,000 men and women of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group,” said Rear Adm. Allen G. Myers, Commander CSG 8. “We were successful in supporting our coalition and regional allies by strengthening our collective efforts to keep the seas free, safe and secure for trade and commerce, conducting maritime security operations and flying missions in support of U.S. and multinational ground troops in both OIF and OEF.

"Ike CSG's deployment reflected the speed, agility, persistent presence and joint/combined warfighting capabilities that a carrier strike group provides in support of our national defense.”

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 flew approximately 12,000 sorties and has put in more than 31,400 flight hours since deployment began, providing air support for multinational coalition forces on the ground in support of various operations in the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command AOR.

“We supported joint coalition forces both in Iraq and Afghanistan, not only with kinetic effects, such as precision guided weapons and 20 mm cannon fire, but also with essential non-kinetic support through show of force and the work of the EA-6B, helicopter and E-2C squadrons,” said Lt. Dale Gregory, CVW-7 operations staff officer. “Throughout our deployment, we have been an essential part, whether that be in support of troops on the ground or in our mere presence at sea, global war on [terrorism].”

The guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68) supported MSO throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR, from the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea. Anzio participated in 32 compliant boardings, demonstrating our nation's commitment to maintaining international sea lines of communications open to all mariners, free from the threats of piracy, smugglers and terrorists. Anzio's boarding teams provided both local fishermen and merchants with fuel, food and medical care to ensure their safety and spread a sense of cooperation to fellow mariners.

While deployed to the Central Command AOR working for Combined Task Forces 150 and 152, the guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61) participated in multiple pulse operations across the AOR.

These pulse operations focused on building a comprehensive recognized maritime picture in support of national and coalition tasking in numerous regions, to include the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Horn of Africa. Ramage conducted more than 40 approach and assist visits, three boardings, more than 100 maritime-awareness calls and 13 coordinated maritime-awareness calls.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) successfully executed Exercise Neon Falcon, a bilateral exercise between the United States and Royal Bahraini navies.

The exercise was a vital step toward the chief of Naval Operation’s goal of an international “1,000-ship navy.” Additionally, Mason, USS Whirlwind (PC 11), and Bahraini ships participated in extensive in-port and at-sea exercises designed to flex the warfighting capabilities of both navies.

A critical part in supporting sustained operations are underway replenishments (UNREP). From bringing to the ship everything from jet parts to food to fuel, an UNREP is essential. USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) completed 36 UNREPs, taking on more than 8,000 pallets of supplies and approximately 21,000,000 gallons of JP-5.

"The underway replenishment operations are critical to keeping Eisenhower Strike Group on-station and combat-ready," said Ike ship's bos'n, CWO3 Lyedell Gibson.

Boosting morale and keeping Ike Sailors in touch with their loved ones, the ship’s post office and mail are very important to Ike and her mission. During deployment, Ike's postal clerks brought on more than 300,000 pounds of mail.

Another division tasked with keeping the lines of communication open is Combat Systems, CS-3 Division.

Since deployment began, there were approximately 6,800,000 e-mails sent off the ship and approximately 7,300,000 e-mails sent to the ship.

"I think the techs in CS-3 Division are amazing," said CWO3 Ken Kipler, CS-3 Division officer. "They have directly impacted the mission of the strike group by ensuring that when the top leaders have had to make decisions, they had all the required information at their fingertips and the ability to communicate that decision over multiple communications paths."

Sailors have many opportunities to stay in touch with their loved ones at home, including use of the United Through Reading (UTR) program, which was established to provide a way for Sailors to comfort their children during an extended absence, such as deployment.

Ike broke the record set by the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) for the most participation in UTR, producing a record number of 2,066 messages during a single cruise.

Food Service Division also played a big part in keeping the crew happy. In eight months, Ike Sailors have gone through 45,780 gallons of milk, 633,120 eggs, 155,189 pounds of ground beef and 238,970 pounds of chicken. Food Service Division served a total of 3,190,211 meals to the crew.

"We have a lot of pride in preparing the quality food for the crew,” said Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Jerry Johnson. “We do our best to make sure everybody is happy with the food we serve. It's been a very challenging experience serving everyone while underway, but also a very rewarding one."

Looking back on the cruise, Ike Sailors reflect on some of the best experiences they’ve had.

“This was my first deployment,” said Storekeeper Seaman Shannon Gray. “It was really challenging, especially dealing with such a large crew. I really enjoyed all the ports we visited and experiencing new cultures. I also realize how much I have grown from the experience.”

Ike Sailors also had the opportunity to take part in a Navy tradition when the ship conducted a “crossing the line” ceremony to commemorate the ship’s crossing of the equator.

“What surprised me the most was when we crossed the equator,” said Yeoman Seaman Eric Tyson. “My dad is a Shellback, and I am really glad that I got to follow in his footsteps and become one myself.”

The world famous Harlem Globetrotters visited Ike, bringing great basketball and entertainment to Sailors.

“This was a great cruise for so many reasons,” said Damage Controlman 3rd Class (SW) Jon Gerringer. “I loved it when we had the Harlem Globetrotters on board. I had never seen them before and they were great.”

“I believe this team excelled at every mission they were assigned. Our Sailors, 70 percent of whom had never deployed before, are the most inspiring men and women I’ve ever served with,” said Capt. Dan Cloyd, commanding officer of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“Looking back on the past eight months we know we’ve made a difference, that we saved lives every day and that we contributed significantly to the security and stability of uniquely important and remarkable parts of the world. We also know that our families helped make this excellence possible -- we can’t thank them enough for their sacrifices and support. It’ll be great to be together with them again,” Cloyd added.

Eisenhower CSG includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, with its embarked air wing, CVW-7, and embarked Destroyer Squadron 28; the guided-missile cruiser Anzio; guided-missile destroyers Ramage and Mason, all homeported in Norfolk.

CVW-7 includes Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125 “Tigertails,” Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103 “Jolly Rogers,” VFA-131 “Wildcats,” VFA-143 “Pukin’ Dogs,” VFA-83 “Rampagers,” Electronic Attack Squadron 140 “Patriots,” Helicopter Anti-submarine 5 “Nightdippers,” and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 “Rawhides.”

CVW-7 squadrons returned to Norfolk on May 21 and 22.

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