Carrier Eisenhower Returns From Deployment After Spending Almost 7 Months at Sea

August 9, 2020 11:33 AM - Updated: August 9, 2020 7:23 PM
Friends and family members greet the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) as the ship returns to Naval Station Norfolk, Va., after a regularly scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet on Aug. 9, 2020. US Navy Photo

After almost seven months at sea with no port calls, sailors from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) returned to their homeport in Virginia on Sunday.

Eisenhower and cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG-56) pulled into Naval Station Norfolk, Va. in Sunday morning. Cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG-72), destroyers USS James E. Williams (DDG-95) and USS Truxtun (DDG-103) are scheduled to return to Norfolk on Monday. Destroyer USS Stout (DDG-55) will remain on deployment.

Squadrons attached to Carrier Air Wing 3 returned to their homefields at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., Norfolk Naval Station, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., and Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., on Aug. 6th and 7th.

The carrier strike group departed the East Coast on Jan. 17 for its month-long, pre-deployment graduation exercise. Following the completion of the Composite Unit Training Exercise, the strike group immediately began its deployment.

As the strike group began its deployment, the emerging threat of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the crews on the ships to remain aboard without pulling into port.

The bulk of the strike group’s operations were confined to U.S. 5th fleet, operating in the Gulf of Oman and the North Arabian Sea as part of an ongoing U.S. presence in the region since May of 2019.

“IKECSG ships each sailed more than 60,000 nautical miles, operating dynamically through multiple exercises with allies and partners and dual-carriers operations with the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75). The ships completed multiple strait and choke point transits, including the Strait of Gibraltar, the Suez Canal, Strait of Hormuz and Strait of Bab el Mandeb,” read a statement from U.S. 2nd Fleet.

According to the Navy, the sailors assigned to the strike group and the air wing had to undertake more than 500 complex repairs to systems that ordinarily would have required fly-in technical support or depot-level maintenance.

“They adapted and overcame the adversity. I witnessed their excellence day in and day out as they accomplished repairs never before attempted at sea,” said Eisenhower commanding officer Capt. Kyle Higgins in a Sunday statement.

USS San Jacinto (CG-56) returns to Naval Station Norfolk on Aug. 9, 2020. US Navy Photo

The following is the composition of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group.

Carrier Strike Group 10
Norfolk-based CSG 10 commands the Dwight D. Eisenhower CSG and is embarked on the carrier.
Aircraft carrier
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), homeported in Norfolk, Va.

Carrier Air Wing 3
Carrier Air Wing 3, based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., 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, and its leaders are embarked on Eisenhower.

  • 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.
Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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