The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group deployed this week immediately after completing its graduation exercise in the Atlantic Ocean, U.S. 2nd Fleet announced on Thursday.
USS Eisenhower (CVN-69) and its escorts left Naval Station Norfolk, Va. on Jan. 17 to begin the series of complex exercises that certifies the ships and aircraft to deploy. Instead of returning to port, the strike group slid into its deployment.
“The mighty Ike just completed its Composite Unit Training Exercise, which is our last major hurdle before we head out and are ready to answer the nation’s call,” USS Eisenhower (CVN-69) commander Capt. Kyle Higgins said in a video message posted on Thursday by the service.
The strike group is deploying with Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.-based Carrier Air Wing 3 aboard Eisenhower; cruisers USS Vella Gulf (CG-72) and USS San Jacinto (CG-56); destroyers USS Stout (DDG-55), USS James E. Williams (DDG-95) and USS Truxtun (DDG-103). The strike group also planned to include Royal Danish Navy frigate Iver Huitfeldt (F361) when it deployed.
“Commander of Iver Huitfeldt, Commander Senior Grade Bo Overgaard, told USNI News the 6,600-ton Danish frigate was going to deploy with Eisenhower later this year. Danish frigate Peter Willemoes (F362) deployed with the George H.W. Bush CSG to the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East in a similar arrangement in 2017,” USNI News reported last month.
Along with the Danish ship, French frigate FS Normandie (D651) and Canadian Halifax-class frigate HMCS Ville de Quebec (FFH 332) joined the strike group as part of the COMPTUEX in the Atlantic.
“Exercises such as COMPTUEX demonstrate the importance of interoperability between allied nations,” said Cmdr. Michael Eelhart, commanding officer Ville de Québec said in a 2nd Fleet statement. “Specifically, the requirement to integrate allied assets and capabilities in order to achieve a common mission.”
Eisenhower’s deployment is the first for the more than 40-year-old carrier after the end of its latest repair period tripled to 18-months. As a result of the delays in repairing the carrier, the Navy decided to deploy the Truman Carrier Strike Group for the second time in two years. In November, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) left to relieve the long-extended USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) in the Middle East immediately after overcoming an electrical problem that unexpectedly sidelined the carrier.
The following is a list of the units deployed with the strike group.
Carrier Strike Group 10
Norfolk-based CSG 10 commands the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group and is embarked on the carrier.
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), homeported in Norfolk, Va.
Carrier Air Wing 3
Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 is based at Naval Air Station Oceana and is embarked aboard Dwight D. Eisenhower and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:
- The “Gunslingers” of VFA-105 – Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) – from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
- The “Wildcats” of VFA-131 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
- The “Swordsmen” of VFA-32 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
- The “Rampagers” of VFA-83 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
- The “Zappers” of VAQ-130 – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island – Wash.
- The “Screwtops” of VAW-123 – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – from Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
- The “Rawhides” of VRC-40 – Detachment – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) – from Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
- The “Dusty Dogs” of HSC-7 – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) – from Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
- The “Swamp Foxes” of HSM-74 – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) – from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.
USS Vella Gulf (CG-72), homeported in Norfolk, Va.
USS San Jacinto (CG-56), homeported in Norfolk, Va.
Destroyer Squadron 26
Destroyer Squadron 26 is based at Norfolk, Va., and its leaders are embarked on Truman.
- USS Stout (DDG-55), homeported in Mayport, Fla.
- USS James E. Williams (DDG-95), homeported in Mayport, Fla.
- USS Truxtun (DDG-103), homeported in Norfolk, Va.
- Royal Danish Navy frigate Iver Huitfeldt (F361)