In this file photo, aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) transits in the Arabian Gulf, March 9, 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans)

INDIAN OCEAN - Carrier Strike Group 1 (CSG 1) returned to U.S. 7th Fleet April 3 after spending three months supporting maritime theater security operations and Operation Enduring Freedom in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

CSG 1, led by Rear Admiral Thomas K. Shannon, consists of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, Destroyer Squadron 1 (DESRON 1), Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97.)

On March 24, CSG 1 and CVW-17, in their second deployment in the last 18 months, conducted their last mission in support of OEF. CVW-17 aircraft flew 1,085 OEF missions, totaling 6,600 total flight hours – which included close air support missions, directly supporting coalition ground forces, along with airborne electronic warfare missions and airborne command and control missions.

“This strike group, to include our air wing, has done precisely what they were built and trained to do,” Shannon said. “They’ve provided support to our ground forces in Afghanistan and a strong naval presence in the Middle East region at a time when it’s essential to sustaining security and stability.”

While supporting U.S. 5th Fleet operations, Carl Vinson and CSG-1 transited the Strait of Hormuz four times. Its mission alternated from OEF combat sorties to Partnership, Strength and Presence operations in the Arabian Gulf.

“Carl Vinson Sailors have been tested for nearly two straight years at sea, and they’ve proven more than capable,” said Carl Vinson’s commanding officer, Capt. Kent D. Whalen. “Everything we’ve asked of them they’ve accomplished, and they’ve represented our Navy and our nation around the world in fine fashion.

CSG 1 will continue operations in the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility, maintaining a robust forward presence in the Asia-Pacific region to be in the best position to rapidly support friends and allies.

"Maintaining and continuing our presence in the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility directly supports our relations with many countries within the region,” added Shannon. “This allows us to remain an engaged and trusted partner throughout the region.”