PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 14, 2012) Guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) and aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) steam together in the Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike (JCSSG) arrive at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Feb. 17 for a planned port visit as they return home from a seven month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation (AOO).

While deployed in the 5th Fleet AOO, JCSSG played a pivotal role in the drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq and provided aviation support to Coalition ground troops in Afghanistan, as well as conducted counter-piracy and maritime security operations, and participated in several cooperative engagements with military partners in the region.

In January, after transitioning from Operation New Dawn to supporting operations in Afghanistan, JCSSG forces thwarted an attempted pirate attack on a Bahamianflagged cargo vessel, and freed a group of Iranian mariners held captive by the suspected pirates.

“This was a well-executed display of the multi-mission capability of the carrier strike group and a testament to the professionalism of our Sailors,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Stanley Jewett, Stennis’ command master chief.

In the 7th Fleet AOR, the strike group conducted several readiness exercises with partner countries in the region as well as visits to Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines before preparing to head back to the United States.

“Exercising together as partners is key to our cooperative strategy and builds our collective capacity to meet common maritime challenges like ensuring freedom of the sea,” said the JCSSG commander, Rear Adm. Craig Faller, referring to the Passing Exercise (PASSEX) the strike group conducted with the Republic of Singapore Navy in January.

During port visits, Sailors volunteered more than 2,000 man hours working in Community Service projects in ten countries.

The air wing conducted more than 13,000 (13389) sorties during deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation New Dawn (OND) and on Dec. 18, an E-2C Hawkeye from the “Golden Hawks,” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112 embarked aboard Stennis flew the last Navy aviation mission over Iraq.

On their way to conduct their mission, the strike group conducted more than 200 hours training in Hawaiian waters.

“The Hawaii Training Range Complex provided realistic and challenging training opportunities for our air wing,” said Capt. Dale Horan, commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, embarked aboard Stennis. “It allowed us to further hone our strike and closeair support skills and procedures, helping us to operate at a high level of effectiveness throughout deployment as we provided support to forces on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

The JCSSG consists of Stennis, the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), aircraft from CVW 9, and guided missile destroyers USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Dewey (DDG 105), and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) from Destroyer Squadron 21.