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Carrier Air Wing 11 Begins OIF Missions

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070605-17
Release Date: 6/5/2007 4:08:00 PM

From Nimitz Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs

USS NIMITZ, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 began conducting missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom June 3 following the ship's first port visit in the Middle East.

CVW-11 aircraft will provide close air-power support, shows of force, armed and tactical reconnaissance, and electronic warfare missions for ground forces operating in Iraq.

"We are supporting 150,000 troops on the ground," said Capt. David B. Woods, commander, CVW-11. "We use armed reconnaissance to give troops on the ground an 'eye in the sky.'"

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG) entered the Persian Gulf May 23 along with the John C. Stennis CSG and the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group.

Upon arrival in the Gulf, the Nimitz CSG participated in Expeditionary Strike Force (ESF) training with the other carrier and expeditionary strike groups before making its first Middle East port visit May 28 - June 2.

The ESF training was designed to demonstrate the importance of the strike groups' ability to plan and to conduct multiple task-force operations as part of the United States' long-standing commitment to maintaining security and stability in the region.

Nimitz CSG arrived in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations May 8 and began providing support to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops on the ground in Afghanistan, as well as conducting maritime operations.

"It's not just for the American troops; it is for all the troops we work with. Everyone is utilizing our services," said Woods.

ISAF is comprised of troops from 37 nations. CVW-11 has flown 788 sorties and more than 2,800 hours in direct support of multinational coalition forces, providing close air-power support and delivering ordnance on enemy positions designated by ground forces.

Maritime operations help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment and complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts in regional nations' littoral waters. Coalition forces also conduct maritime operations under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that commercial shipping and fishing can occur safely in the region.

The squadrons of CVW-11 include the Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14 "Tophatters," VFA 41 "Black Aces," VFA 81 "Sunliners," the Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117 "Wallbangers," Marine Corps Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 232 "Red Devils," Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 135 "Black Ravens," Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 "Providers," and the Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 6 "Indians."

Nimitz is the flagship for the Nimitz CSG. Commanded by Rear Adm. Terry Blake, the Nimitz CSG also includes embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23; guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59); guided-missile destroyers USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Chafee (DDG 90), and USS Pinckney (DDG 91); Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 "Scorpions," HSL-37 "Easy Riders," and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 11, Det. 15.

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