Ships and embarked squadrons from the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HST CSG) completed operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOR) March 28.
The strike group completed a 120-mile transit of the Suez Canal, marking the end to more than seven straight months of operations in the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), maritime security operations and security cooperation efforts with various countries throughout the region.
“The Truman Strike Group has been America’s away team these past eight months,” said Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney, HST CSG commander. “Our young Sailors and Marines have operated in a very demanding environment and executed with professionalism, precision and lethality when called upon. I could not be more proud of their dedication and sacrifice.”
While in the 5th Fleet AOR, the strike group conducted a full range of maritime operations and theater security cooperation efforts with coalition partners and allies, ranging from OEF support to assisting mariners in distress.
The strike group also conducted five weeks of integrated operations with French Task Force 473, led by the French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91). The two navies operated and exercised together conducting flight operations, boarding exercises, air defense exercises, combat search and rescue training, live-gunnery exercises and personnel exchanges.
HST CSG also interacted with the Spanish, Italian, Norwegian navies and the Australian-led counter-piracy task force, Combined Task Force 151 during its deployment to the region.
Sweeney said the strike group’s time in the Middle East was very successful.
HST CSG consists of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), along with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 and its squadrons: Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32 “Swordsmen,” VFA-37 “Ragin’ Bulls,” VFA-105 “Gunslingers,” Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 312 “Checkerboards,” Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 126 “Seahawks,” Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130 “Zappers,” Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7 “Dusty Dogs,” and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74 “Swamp Foxes;” the embarked staffs of Carrier Strike Group 10 and 1st Combined Destroyer Squadron; guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Gettysburg (CG 64); and guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and USS Mason (DDG 87).
Press Release, March 31, 2014, Image: US Navy