USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) carrier strike group returned home to Norfolk Naval Station on Sunday, August 9th after seven months operating in 5th and 6th Fleet.
Returning home along with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (IKE) (CVN 69) was the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56).
Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) and USS Truxtun (DDG 103) also returned to Norfolk on Monday August 10th.
The USS Stout (DDG 55) remains on deployment and will return to Norfolk at a future date.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (CSG) ships departed Norfolk, Va., on January 17th, for the strike group’s Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) and continued onward thereafter with regular deployment.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, IKECSG continued operations to maintain maritime stability and security and ensure access, deter aggression, and defend U.S., allied and partner interests across the globe.
Sailors assigned to the Eisenhower and San Jacinto transited to the equator and participated in a unique crossing the line ceremony, becoming the Navy’s first ‘Iron Shellbacks,’ with more than 100 days at sea May 14, according to a press release from America’s Navy.
Ike petitioned Naval History and Heritage Command to commemorate this feat in conjunction with crossing the equator as a new title: ‘Iron Shellback.’
While in U.S. 5th Fleet, Vella Gulf, James E. Williams, Stout and Truxtun participated in Operation Sentinel, providing freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in and out of the heavily transited Strait of Hormuz and Strait of Bab el Mandeb. These operations were instrumental in maintaining stability throughout the region.
Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW) 3 supported Central Command with 166 sorties and 1,135 flight hours in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, and 112 sorties and 492 flight hours in support of Strait of Hormuz transits and Deliberate Presence Patrols.
During deployment, CVW-3 completed 10,466 rotary and fixed wing sorties, 7,751 traps with more than 21,995 mishap-free flight hours.
More than 1,800 Navy aviators from nine squadrons from Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW) 3 returned August 6-7 to their home bases in Naval Air Station Oceana, Norfolk Naval Station, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, and Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida.
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.