Home » News & Analysis » Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group Set to Return to Norfolk on Saturday


Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group Set to Return to Norfolk on Saturday

Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) transits the Strait of Gibraltar on June 28, 2018. US Navy Photo

USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) and three escorts assigned to Carrier Strike Group 8 are scheduled to return to Naval Station Norfolk, Va. on Saturday, following a brief three-month deployment to the Mediterranean and Atlantic.

Truman, Carrier Air Wing 1, guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG-60), and guided-missile destroyers USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG-98) are expected back in Norfolk this weekend, according to U.S. Fleet Forces Command

Since the deployment was shorter than what’s become the typical length at sea for a CSG, the Navy is keeping the returning units available to return to sea as needed, according to a Wednesday statement.

“All returning units are 100 percent mission capable and will remain in the sustainment phase of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan, which means they will sustain warfighting readiness and be ready to surge forward or redeploy when called upon,” according to a statement released by Adm. Christopher Grady, the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the ‘Dragon Slayers’ of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 11 conducts a vertical replenishment between the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE-8) and USS Normandy (CG-60). US Navy Photo

When the Truman CSG deployed on April 11, the Navy announced the plan was to conduct a variety of missions including precision strikes against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria and exercises with NATO allies.

Truman Strike Group embarked with an extensive escort fleet. Along with Normandy, Arleigh Burke and Forrest Sherman, the CSG also included guided-missile destroyers USS Farragut (DDG-99), USS Bulkeley (DDG-84), USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109), USS The Sullivans (DGG-68) and the German Navy guided-missile frigate FGS Hessen (F221). Jason Dunham and The Sullivans deploy after the bulk of the CSG arrived in theater. The Navy did not disclose missions performed by the ships remaining at sea.

Citing the National Defense Strategy, Grady’s statement explains Truman’s short deployment is intended to make Navy operations unpredictable, while also showcasing the fleet’s “inherent maneuverability and flexibility.” The Truman Strike Group was the first East Coast CSG that did not operate in the Red Sea or the Persian Gulf on deployment for more than a decade.

The squadrons of CVW-1 are returning to bases at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, NAS Whidbey Island, NAS Jacksonville, NAS Lemoore and NS Norfolk. CVW-1 includes: Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 “Red Rippers”; VFA-le “Checkmates”; VFA-8 “Sunliners”; VFA-l36 “Knighthawks”; Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137 “Rooks”; Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 126 “Seahawks”; Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 72 “Proud Warriors”; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 11 “Dragon Slayers”; and a detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (V RC) 40 “Rawhides.”

  • proudrino

    ‘Since the deployment was shorter than what’s become the typical length at sea for a CSG, the Navy is keeping the returning units available to return to sea as needed, according to a Wednesday statement.’

    I remember a three-month deployment wasn’t that unusual. I fully understand the need to put our units on some sort of a schedule for stability in maintenance, operations, and the welfare of personnel. That being said, it seems as if Navy schedulers gave priority to the deployment cycle over operational necessity and emerging operational requirements. This seems like a positive step to eliminate that mindset. Less certain is the impact on personnel who are now deployed for three months and still on the bubble for longer deployments down the line. I would suggest that the solution is probably injecting more flexibility into the deployment cycle. For example, if a unit has completed a successful short deployment, are their parts of the pre-deployment workups that can be eliminated as a result? Are there personnel policies that provide personnel stability even with a more unpredictable deployment schedule? Etc.

  • b2

    When I was an operator in the US Navy from before the Reagan administration up to the Cold War endeing and into the New (old) World Order, we had regular ~ 6 month rotational deployments around the globe. The fact is those deployments kept the world safe since WW2 and no one can refute that record. Even after the breakup of the USSR we continued them, not wanting to upset the status quo.

    Yes, the fleet response plan (now optimized-LOL) is basically the same- tweaked to save $$.. An example I always think of to prove my point was the summer of 1990 when a gap in carrier battlegroup coverage in the North Arabian Sea was done on purpose, and Saddam Hussein marched into Kuwait….

    For the most part rotational presence works and exemplifies what John Adams visualized in his Wall of Wood approach to a US Navy…

    Where is this new plan coming from and why. Is it to save money? Retain more sailors with even more shore duty? Etc, etc… From what I can see, it is coming from the US military’s leaders of the past 18 years. Those Marine and Army General officers, both inside and out of the administration, generating them. Who? Those AD and former Marine and Army general officers up to Sec Mattis. But do they really know what the US Navy is about and has been since WW2.. Well maybe, but probably not.
    I don’t even think the leaders of today’s Navy ever think back and consider what a real Blue water navy should be. I would recommend they all do that – Do we need a Navy operational tempo/plan
    based on proven success since WW2, or go to a deployment- surge something- “optimized”-experiemnt, and for what reason?

    • Curtis Conway

      We have only recently began to hear the needs of the COCOM considered out loud, and not for lack of their testimony to Congress. For the last decades, as the force shrank, from the Berlin Wall falling and beyond, the mission sets and tasking of the COCOM has only grown, and that in the presence of dwindling resources to send, and the inexpensive (just barely able to do it FFG-7 OHPs) are now gone. Hope their replacement will not only meet the need, but be able to grow into a DDG-51 Flt I replacement when the day comes, for those two windows overlap pretty good at the end of FFG(X) production of 20 units.

      Except for submarines, the Blue – Gold Crew idea really ought to be reexamined. Taking a technician away from his/her equipment just as they get comfortable with it, and have it up and running to spec, just to have it taken away, and placed in different hands, is just beyond me. Motorhead Ownership of their gear is real, and nothing will ever replace it.