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Carl Vinson Strike Group deploys

Photo: An F/A-18F assigned to VFA-2 launches from the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson during a sustainment training exercise in preparation for its upcoming deployment. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jake Cannady

 

The Carl Vinson Strike Group departed the US West Coast on January 4-5, for a regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific.

The deployment, which involves more than 6,000 sailors, will be the second time the Carl Vinson Strike Group has operated in the Indo-Pacific region under US Third Fleet command and control.

The embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 includes more than 70 aircraft, most of them on board the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Aircraft units comprise Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 2 ‘Bounty Hunters’, VFA-34 ‘Blue Blasters’, VFA-137 ‘Kestrels’, VFA-192 ‘Golden Dragons’, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113 ‘Black Eagles’, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136 ‘Gauntlets’, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4 ‘Black Knights’, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78 ‘Blue Hawks’ and Detachment 2 of Fleet Logistic Support Squadron (VRC) 30 ‘Providers’.

Rear Admiral John Fuller, commander of Carrier Strike Group 1, converses with a sailor on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson on November 14 last year. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jake Cannady

Traditionally, warships deploying from the Third Fleet to the Western Pacific shifted to the Seventh Fleet after crossing the international dateline. Under a new initiative, known as Third Fleet Forward, control of Third Fleet control of ships and aircraft extends across the Western Pacific and beyond the international dateline to India. This means the two fleets can operate together on different maritime missions in region.

As well as the carrier Carl Vinson and CVW-2, the strike group includes aircraft the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), and guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) from Destroyer Squadron 1.

In November, the strike group completed a three-week sustainment training exercise off the coast of Southern California. The strike group successfully conducting a series of at-sea drills, missile firings and strike operations.

An MH-60S assigned to HSC-4 prepares to take off from the flight deck of the Carl Vinson during pre-deployment training in mid-November last year. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M Castellano

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