Home » News & Analysis » Harry S. Truman Strike Group Back Underway After More Than a Month in Port

Harry S. Truman Strike Group Back Underway After More Than a Month in Port

Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) departs Naval Station Norfolk, Aug. 28, 2018. US Navy Photo

The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is back underway in the Atlantic after more than a month in port, the Navy announced on Tuesday.

Carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) departed Tuesday after what the Navy described as a 38-day “working port visit” at its homeport at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. The ship initially departed in April and returned in July after operating in the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic.

“Since April when we began our deployment, our strike group has demonstrated our inherent maneuverability and flexibility as we took part in maritime security operations and evolutions with several key allies and partners,” strike group commander Rear Adm. Gene Black said in a statement. “Now, as we continue our deployment, we remain 100-percent mission-capable and ready to accomplish whatever mission we are assigned, at any time, anywhere.”

Truman is set to take on nine squadrons from Carrier Air Wing 1 and deploy with guided-missile destroyers USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG-98) and guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG-60).

Other destroyers Truman deployed with in April — USS Farragut (DDG-99) and USS The Sullivans (DDG-68) from Naval Mayport, Fla,. and Norfolk-based USS Bulkeley (DDG-84) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109) — have been operating independently in locations stretching from off the coast of northern Norway to the Persian Gulf.

A U.S. Fleet Forces Command spokesperson told USNI News on Tuesday the ships are still considered part of the strike group but are steaming on their own for the moment.

Early in the underway, Truman will sail with USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) for dual-carrier operations in the Atlantic. Lincoln is currently conducting tests with six F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters along with aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 7. The service did not elaborate on additional plans for the strike group.

While on the first underway period of the deployment from April to July, Truman did not operate in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. has not had carrier operating in the region since USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) left in late March. A carrier in the Persian Gulf has been a staple of U.S. Navy operations since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, providing air support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, since 2015, attacking the Islamic State in Syria.

The change in the traditional deployment is the Navy’s reflection of the National Defense Strategy the Pentagon rolled out in January. The Navy’s new dynamic force employment model that is “strategically predictable, but operationally unpredictable.”

Truman’s departure comes days after the formal stand-up of the new U.S. 2nd Fleet in Norfolk as the Russians submarine operations increase.

“A new 2nd Fleet increases our strategic flexibility to respond — from the Eastern Seaboard to the Barents Sea,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said. “Second Fleet will approach the North Atlantic as one continuous operational space, and conduct expeditionary fleet operations where and when needed.”

The following is the complete Aug. 28, 2018 statement from U.S. Fleet Forces.

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) — Nearly 6,500 Sailors of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) departed today from Naval Station (NS) Norfolk, Virginia.

HSTCSG deployed April 11, 2018, and returned to NS Norfolk July 21, 2018, for an extended port visit. During this working port visit, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and strike group assets conducted routine maintenance on ships, aircraft and equipment; conducted advanced training; and maintained warfighting certifications.

HSTCSG will continue its deployment by conducting sustainment operations and carrier qualifications in the Atlantic and participating in dual-carrier operations with the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).
“Since April when we began our deployment, our strike group has demonstrated our inherent maneuverability and flexibility as we took part in maritime security operations and evolutions with several key allies and partners,” said HSTCSG Commander, Rear Adm. Gene Black. “Now, as we continue our deployment, we remain 100% mission-capable and ready to accomplish whatever mission we are assigned, at any time, anywhere. This exemplifies the Navy’s Dynamic Force Employment concept: we remain flexible and ready on short notice to deploy whenever and wherever the nation needs, ready to fight.”
Ships and aircraft of the strike group departing Norfolk include flagship Harry S. Truman, commanded by Capt. Nick Dienna; the nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1); guided-missile cruises USS Normandy (CG 60); and guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron Two Eight (DESRON 28), including USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).
Embarked squadrons of CVW-1, commanded by Capt. John Perrone, include
Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 “Red Rippers”;
VFA-211 “Checkmates”; VFA-81 “Sunliners”; VFA-136 “Knighthawks”; Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137 “Rooks”; Carrier Airborne 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 (VRC) 40 Rawhides.”

  • Curtis Conway

    Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) mission is coming back with a vengeance. It is time to seriously consider the reconstitution of the S-3 Viking ASW aircraft with updated engines, avionics, and combat system. The TF-34 engine upgrade will provide greater efficiency, longer range, performed with less engine maintenance. The upgraded combat system will make it a complementary asset in other warfare areas over water, and can provide eyes and ears to the fleet going places the E-2D Hawkeye dare not go, and can do it faster, and have a solution to provide to the situation at hand. That huge nose radar dome, and two wing stores stations carrying NGJ could bring a lot of energy too many equations. Conformal ZPY radar could bring even more to the equation.
    There are over 80 airframes at AMARG to provide the base airframes. Most have many hours left on them, and all can be rebuilt and reset to provide facility for two decades. Something to consider.

    • Ed L

      I agree wholeheartedly. The S-3 although is an aircraft designed over 40 plus years ago. Those 80 aircraft could form a bridging point until a new Fixed Wing Carrier borne ASW, etc. platform is operational. With those 80 S-3’s at least 5 squadrons could be stood up. The remaining aircraft could be divided among training and replacement Depots plus Fleet Commanders could use a few for special assignment aircraft

    • Ctrot

      That makes so much sense that it will probably never happen.

    • NavySubNuke

      The real issue here is that we have to decide how we are going to best allocate the limited funding available. Certainly having a carrier based ASW aircraft is a great idea and would provide increased capability to the battlegroup — but what are we willing to give up to buy it? We need to decide if this is a gap that MUST be filled or if this is merely a weak area we should consider improving.
      In general I personally think of this more as a weak area we should consider rather than a true gap. I feel this way primarily because of the the added capabilities the P-8 brings to the fight vs. the P-3. Based on these capabilities I wonder if, based on advances in our adversaries anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles, we are really going to be sending carriers places a P-8 can’t reach but an S-3 or “S-4” from the carrier could safely operate?
      This is particularly true in the Atlantic where we can operate P-8s on either side of the GIUK Gap and in the Med without any real threat from Russian anti-air capabilities.
      In the Pac it is admittedly a different story since we shouldn’t expect our forward airbases to survive in a usable condition given China’s surface to surface missile capability —- but I don’t think we should really expect our carrier battle groups to be charging into range of China’s submarines either thanks to their ASBMs/ASCMs. By the time we’ve knocked down the defenses enough for the carriers to head in thanks to SSN/SSGN and heavy bombers strikes our SSNs should have the ASW situation well in hand.

      • Natalya

        In regards to Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), the MH-60 “Romeo” models are designated for anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare and at least 2 or 3 birds on the carrier, correct? They are called HSM-72 ‘Proud Warriors’ if I’m not mistaken.

        w w w . seaforces . org/ usnair/ HSM/ Helicopter-Maritime-Strike-Squadron-72 . htm

        I would believe they would help fill the role of ASW. Please correct me if I’m off-base here (you or Curtis)? I fully agree an SSN especially with a towed array would give very strong if not complete coverage.

      • The best weapon against a submarine has been, is and always will be another (superior) submarine.

        • Duane

          For short range CSG escort, most definitely true. At longer ranges from the escorted vessels, airborne is the only practical solution.

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      Could not agree more…. A SH-60B/MH-60R is a very capable ASW helo from everything I read… and I’m sure it’s dipping sonar is just great. It is not, however, remotely comparable to an S-3. An S-3 has an *extremely* longer range, MUCH more time in the air, much more weaponry, and of course can be a tanker-aircraft, an ELINT aircraft, even an ASuW and ISR/patrol aircraft. A helo will always be a helo (taking Osprey-like stuff out of the equation). Removing the S-3 was ridiculous… and it seems like the best reason they can think of NOT to return them to service is they don’t want to admit they were stupidly wrong in the first place.

      • Curtis Conway

        With the advent and maturation of ISR, the S-3 Viking offers a lot of on-scene live-intel, and probable response if required with the wings stores stations and bomb bay. With the introduction of sub-surface launched AA missiles (Russians have one), a helo mission may be a death sentence based on target capabilities. The S-3 is looking even better. With the ISR capability ASW can change a bit (perhaps), and the OTH ASCM hunt could become another matter given a pair of AMRAAM AIM-120Ds on the wing stores stations. I jumped (ambushed) more than one Tomcat with an S-3 that was doing SSSC work. For the real-estate (deck-spot) it takes up on deck it brings a lot to the Air Wing and Battle Group Commander. If its capabilities includes NGJ capability, and an advanced AESA radar with a big antenna, we have all kinds of possibilities in our future. Put DAS on it and this platform would be second only to F-35s based upon mission set, with a lot more persistence on station.

    • Duane

      A certain contingent of USNI commenters is always trying to turn back the calendar 40 or 50 years to solve non existent problems. The Navy’s airborne ASW is just fine as it is.

      No – the Navy is NOT going to resurrect the P3.

      The Navy’s airborne ASW consists of excellent platforms today, including the MH60 at short to medium range. and the two variants of MQ8 (B and C) for medium to long range, and the P8A at up to very long range from CSGs, ARGs, and other key assets.

      The MQ8s have much longer endurance (8 and 15 hours, resp) than the old P3s, and have better ASW sensor equipment. The C model has a near 3,000 pound payload and will be outfitted with Mk 54 torpedoes.

      The P8A is a great modern long range ASW aircraft, much better capability than the P3.

      The Navy can and will develop very long endurance unmanned ASW fixed wing aircraft, most likely in the near term modifying the MQ4, which is a large aircraft with 30 hour endurance.

      The future airborne ASW fleet will increasingly be unmanned.

      Go “back to the future”, not the past.

      • Curtis Conway

        Just for the Record, a P-3 and an S-3 are entirely two different aircraft, and though P-2 variants once operated off of carriers, the P-3 does not. The S-3 however operatoed off of US aircraft carriers for decades and performed many more missions than JUST . . . ASW!

  • Ed L

    North Atlantic Dual Carrier Operations! Which appears to be in 2nd Fleet Operation Area. That is something I have not heard of in a long time

  • jamesben

    Love it when two (or more) Supercarriers operate together.
    That makes 9 full acres of sovereign U.S. territory projecting strength.