Stennis strike group returns to San Diego

By Lt. j.g. Emily Wilkin

John C. Stennis Strike Group Public Affairs

More than 7,000 John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) Sailors returned to San Diego following a regularly scheduled seven-month deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region Aug 10.

JCSSG left for deployment on Jan 15 and operated in both U.S. 3rd and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility, including more than 60 days in the South China Sea.

“I am proud of our sailors and their dedication during the last seven months. They performed admirably, excelling in both complex exercises and the often demanding maritime environment,” said Rear Adm. Marcus A. Hitchcock, commander, JCSSG.

“The success of our strike group was a team effort, the result of preparation, training and the truly exceptional Sailors who make up crews, squadrons and staffs. They demonstrated once again that the U.S. Navy can operate around the world, promoting maritime security alongside our international partners and friends.”

While underway, JCSSG worked alongside international partners, including exercises Balikatan, Komodo, Foal Eagle, Malabar and RIMPAC. International exercises provide units from different countries with opportunities to share their experience and improve their ability to work together in the maritime environment. JCSSG also conducted dual carrier operations with the Ronald Reagan Strike Group off the coast of Japan, during which both aircraft carriers worked in concert with one another, conducting coordinated flight operations.

Ships from JCSSG made port calls to Fiji, Guam, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore and South Korea. These port visits provided Sailors the opportunity to interact and experience the culture of the countries they visited. Many Sailors volunteer alongside local groups in community service projects, while others took part in organized tours provided through the ships’ Moral, Welfare and Recreation programs.

Strike group ships sailed over 66,000 nautical miles over the course of their time underway. Its aircraft flew over 19,000 hours, with fixed wing aircraft launching and landing from the aircraft carrier’s catapults and recovery gear more than 8,500 times.

JCSSG consists of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21, and Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53).

DESRON 21’s ships, which deployed with the strike group, include Arleigh Burk class guided-missile destroyers USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110).

CVW-9 consists of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71 and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14 both based in San Diego, California, Fleet Logistics Combat Support Squadron (VRC) 30, also from of San Diego, Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112 of Point Mugu, California, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133 of Whidbey Island, Washington, and Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151, 97, 41 and 14 of Lemoore, California.

Chung-Hoon completed the first homecoming and remained at her homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, following the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise Aug 4.

Aircrew from CVW 9 squadrons returned home Aug. 9, conducting a “flyoff” of aircraft from John C. Stennis. The remaining air wing personnel rode the ship to Naval Air Station North Island where they offloaded their equipment and the rest of their personnel.

John C. Stennis and JCSSG staff will return to their homeport of Bremerton, Wash., following the brief stop in San Diego.

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