Many local Navy families said goodbye to their loved ones today as more than 6,000 Sailors set sail with the San Diego based Carl Vinson Strike Group for a regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific. This deployment comes exactly one year after the strike group deployed Jan. 5 2017, marking its third deployment in just four years.
Along with USS Carl Vinson and its embarked Carrier Air Wing Two, the strike group consists of guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), and guided-missile destroyers USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), home-ported in Hawaii, and USS Wayne E Meyer (DDG-108).
Carl Vinson’s most powerful weapon system, its embarked Carrier Air Wing 2, includes Coronado’s own “Black Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4, the “Blue Hawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM 78) and the “Providers” of Fleet Logistic Support Squadron (VRC) 30 Detachment 2. Joining the air wing team from Lemoore are three F/A 18 squadrons: the “Bounty Hunters” of Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 2, the “Krestrels” of (VFA)137 and the “Golden Dragons” of (VFA) 192. The “Blue Blasters” of (VFA) 34 flew out from Oceana, Va. while the “Black Eagles” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113 flew down from Point Mugu, Calif. and the “Gauntlets” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136 flew down from Whidbey Island, Wash.
USS Carl Vinson looked ready to go this morning with her Sailors manning the rails in their Standard Dress Blue uniforms as she pulled away from the pier.
“I look forward to the strike group further demonstrating 3rd Fleet’s evolving operational role across the Indo-Pacific region,” said Rear Adm. John Fuller, the strike group commander. “We are trained and ready to execute our mission.”
The ship’s Commanding Officer, Captain Doug Verissimo, posted a farewell message today to the USS Carl Vinson Facebook page as the ship got underway. He said that they have been tasked with going to the Western Pacific and challenges lie ahead but they are ready. View the video message from Captain Verissimo:
The Navy reported that in preparation for today’s deployment, the Carl Vinson Strike Group completed a three-week sustainment training exercise off the coast of Southern California, Nov. 16.
The exercise tested the strike group’s readiness for executing missions across all warfare areas. By successfully conducting at-sea drills, missile shoots, and strike operations Vinson strike group demonstrated they will be ready for any mission tasking they receive while deployed.
“Our time at sea was well spent. We trained how we fight,” said Fuller. “We worked hard as a team to refine our battle rhythm and execute complex, integrated operations. We’re ready for deployment.”
The Navy explained the strike group’s mission is to promote regional maritime partnerships, project power, provide maritime security and maintain freedom of navigation when tasked.
Carl Vinson most recently returned from deployment last June after a six month deployment to the western Pacific. During that deployment, Vinson Strike Group conducted dual carrier operations with Ronald Reagan Strike Group to practice operating as a team while also demonstrating the the Navy’s commitment to security and stability of that region.
Commissioned in 1982, Carl Vinson is America’s third Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. When in port, Vinson shares the Coronado skyline with USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), the Navy’s fourth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, currently forward deployed to the U.S Fifth Fleet Area of Operations.