US aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson starting 2018 deployment

US Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and its carrier strike group will be the first to deploy in 2018, getting underway from San Diego on January 5.

The strike group’s 6,000 sailors will deploy aboard four ships, including aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and the guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108).

Guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) departed San Diego, January 4 while USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), based in Hawaii, will later join the strike group as it transits toward the Western Pacific.

The Carl Vinson strike group previously completed a six-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific region last June and was the first in recent history under US 3rd Fleet’s command and control. The strike group will again operate under the command and control construct called Third Fleet Forward.

This operational concept allows the 3rd Fleet to maintain command and control of units throughout their deployment rather than transferring operational control to US 7th Fleet once units cross the international date line.

Strike group ships and units will provide maritime security, maintain freedom of the seas in accordance with international law and customs, and operate with international partners and allies to promote regional stability and prosperity.

Carl Vinson’s embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 2, includes the “Black Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4, the “Blue Hawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM 78), the “Bounty Hunters” of Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 2, the “Blue Blasters” of VFA-34, the “Krestrels” of VFA-137, the “Golden Dragons” of VFA-192, the “Black Eagles” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the “Gauntlets” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136 and the “Providers” of Fleet Logistic Support Squadron (VRC) 30 Detachment 2.

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