Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cole Schroeder
SAN DIEGO – The Nimitz Strike Group (CSG 11) returned to San Diego, Dec. 5, marking the end of a successful deployment for Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83).
Sailors and Marines will reunite with family and friends just in time for the holidays following a six-month tour to the Western Pacific and U.S. 5th Fleet in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).
The strike group consists of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Shoup (DDG 86), USS Kidd (DDG 100) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91). Nimitz, Shoup and Kidd will stop in San Diego before returning to their homeports in Washington. The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) is slated to return to San Diego Dec. 6. Pinckney is scheduled to return to San Diego later this month.
CVW-11 consists of Lemoore, California-based Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, VFA 154, VFA 146, Whidbey Island, Washington-based Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 142, Norfolk-Va. based Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, and San Diego-based Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75 and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30.
The strike group departed San Diego for a regularly scheduled deployment June 5. During the deployment the strike group sailed more than 78,000 miles (equivalent to approximately five times around the world), flew over 1,000 combat sorties into Iraq and Syria, and dropped over 900 pieces of ordnance. The strike group conducted training and operations with the French Marine Nationale, Indian Navy, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Republic of Korea Navy, Royal Australian Navy, the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy, and Royal New Zealand Navy. These included Exercise Malabar 2017 in the Indian Ocean, Intrepid Sentinel in the Gulf of Oman and landmark Three-Carrier Strike Force Operations in the Western Pacific. In addition, the strike group conducted visit, board, search and seizure drills, close-in coordinated maneuvers, flag hoisting drills, sea surveillance, replenishments-at-sea, maritime patrol and reconnaissance, explosive ordnance disposal operations, and air, surface and anti-submarine warfare training.
“I am very proud of the entire Strike Group and all that our Sailors and Marines accomplished during this deployment,” said Rear Adm. Gregory Harris, commander, Nimitz Strike Group. “The team demonstrated the professionalism, strength and resolve of the U.S. Navy around the world. They battled through the intense heat of the Arabian Gulf to conduct operations in support of OIR. We also enhanced partnerships with international friends and allies, and now we can get back to our families and enjoy well-deserved time with them.”
Over the six-month span, the strike group conducted port visits in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Chennai, India; Manama, Bahrain; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Hamad, Qatar; Duqm, Oman; Pattaya, Thailand; and Sasebo, Japan. Sailors participated in numerous volunteer events, including interacting with children at schools, visiting patients at hospitals, and socializing with animals at shelters. Pinckney Sailors also participated in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations 50th anniversary celebration in Thailand, which included an International Fleet Review, conferences and a parade.
Nimitz Strike Group is part of U.S. 3rd Fleet, which leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. U.S. 3rd Fleet constantly coordinates with U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions based on their complementary strengths to promote ongoing peace, security, and stability throughout the entire Pacific theater of operations.