USS John C. Stennis Expected to Arrive in Norfolk on Thursday

May 13, 2019 4:11 PM
U.S. Sailors conduct a foreign object debris walkdown on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) while transiting the Strait of Gibraltar, May 3, 2019. Navy photo.

USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) is expected to arrive in Norfolk, Va., on Thursday, marking the conclusion of its deployment and the start of preparations for a scheduled mid-life refueling complex overhaul (RCOH).

Stennis will pull into Naval Station Norfolk this week, U.S. Fleet Forces Command announced on Monday. The RCOH will take place nearby at Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding.

Stennis’ arrival in Norfolk is part of a three-carrier swap that was announced last year. Stennis left for deployment from Bremerton, Wash. After Stennis’ departure, USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) arrived in Bremerton for a scheduled planned incremental maintenance availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. With Vinson’s spot in San Diego open, the Navy sent USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) to the Pacific Fleet from Norfolk. Lincoln had previously been a Pacific Fleet ship but was on the East Coast following its own RCOH that ended two years ago.

Stennis will be the only ship from the Stennis Carrier Strike Group (CSG) to arrive in Norfolk. Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyers USS Stockdale (DDG-106), USS Spruance (DDG-111) and USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) already detached from the strike group to return to their homeports in Hawaii and San Diego. Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG-53) is escorting Stennis to Norfolk but will return to San Diego after Stennis arrives.

The bulk of Stennis’ embarked air wing is also returning to the West Coast. The air wing includes: Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 41, VFA 14, VFA 97, VFA 151, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133, Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117, Fleet Logistics Combat Support Squadron (VRC) 30, Detachment 4, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71.

During deployment, Stennis operated in the Pacific, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea. While in the Mediterranean, Stennis conducted a dual-carrier exercise with Lincoln, their strike groups and warships from the United Kingdom, France and Spain, USNI News reported.

Just before Christmas in 2018, when Stennis entered the Persian Gulf, it was the first time a nuclear-powered carrier had passed through the Strait of Hormuz since USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) left the region in March 2018. Stennis then spent the early part 2019 participating in the Cobra Gold exercise in Thailand and operating off the coast of Vietnam during President Donald Trump’s abbreviated summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un in Hanoi on Feb. 20 and 21.

The full Navy media release announcing the arrival of USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) in Norfolk, Va.:

USS John C. Stennis Arrives in Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. — Nearly 4,500 Sailors from Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3 will arrive in Norfolk, May 16.

The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74), commanded by Capt. Randy Peck, is pulling into Naval Station (NS) Norfolk following its deployment.

Commanded by Rear Adm. Mike Wettlaufer, CSG-3 is comprised of flagship John C. Stennis with embarked squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, CSG-3 staff, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21 staff, USS Stockdale (DDG-106), USS Spruance (DDG-111), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93), and USS Mobile Bay (CG-53).

John C. Stennis is the only ship arriving in Norfolk along with some of the air wing assets. CSG-3 staff, CVW-9 squadrons and DESRON 21 staff will return back to the west coast from Norfolk. Stockdale, Spruance and Chung-Hoon detached from the strike group mid-April to return to their respective home ports in San Diego and Hawaii. Mobile Bay will continue their transit home to San Diego by transiting through the 4th Fleet area of operations.

The squadrons of west coast-based CVW-9 embarked as part of CSG-3 include: Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 41, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 97, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133, Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117, Fleet Logistics Combat Support Squadron (VRC) 30, Detachment 4, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71.

The John C. Stennis will pull into Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, and prepare to conduct a mid-life Refueling Complex Overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding, Huntington Ingalls Industries.

Ben Werner

Ben Werner

Ben Werner is a staff writer for USNI News. He has worked as a freelance writer in Busan, South Korea, and as a staff writer covering education and publicly traded companies for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., Savannah Morning News in Savannah, Ga., and Baltimore Business Journal. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree from New York University.

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox