By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Frost
Families waved good-bye from the pier as sailors from the John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) departed San Diego Jan. 19 and 20 for a regularly scheduled deployment.
Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander Naval Air Forces, addressed the crew of JCSSG flagship USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) before the ship departed.
“Pacific Fleet and Pacific Command are counting on you to provide a deterring presence to dissuade our potential adversaries and reassure our friends in that very important part of the world,” Shoemaker said over the ship’s public address system.
Approximately 7,000 sailors are deploying as part of the strike group.
“The sailors of this strike group are ready, willing and able to go wherever is necessary to protect American interests,” said Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, commander, JCSSG. “We will continue the great tradition of projecting power and enhancing U.S. partner relationships around the world.”
JCSSG sailors spent more than half of the past year underway preparing for this deployment to the 7th Fleet area of operations.
The strike group completed a Composite Training Unit Exercise and a Joint Task Force exercise throughout July and August as well as a Sustainment Exercise in October to prepare for deployment.
The sailors will be the centerpiece of the Great Green Fleet, a year-long initiative highlighting the Navy’s efforts to transform its energy use to increase operational capability. JCSSG will use energy efficiency measures, to include technologies and operational procedures, and alternative fuel in the course of its normal operations.
JCSSG expects to participate in a number of exercises during this deployment; training, integrating and building capacity with allies in the Pacific region as part of an ongoing rotation of U.S. forces supporting maritime security operations in waters around the world.
The strike group consists of USS John C. Stennis with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 embarked, guided-missile destroyers USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53).
CVW 9 consists of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133 and Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 151, 97, 41 and 14.