Sailors aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) move an F/A-18E Super Hornet aboard the aircraft carrier earlier this week. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Kenneth Rodriguez Santiago )

PACIFIC OCEAN - The John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) crossed the International Date Line into the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations Feb. 4.

Approximately 7,000 Sailors make up the strike group, which is on a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment.

"The Sailors of this strike group are ready, willing and able to go wherever is necessary to protect American interests," said Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, commander, JCSSG. "We will continue the great tradition of projecting power and enhancing U.S. partner relationships around the world."

JCSSG is the centerpiece of the Great Green Fleet, a year-long initiative highlighting the Navy's efforts to transform its energy use to increase operational capability. The strike group will use energy efficiency measures, to include technologies and operational procedures, and alternative fuel in the course of its normal operations.

The strike group expects to participate in a number of exercises during this deployment; training, integrating and building capacity with allies in the Pacific region as part of an ongoing rotation of U.S. forces supporting maritime security operations in waters around the world.

JCSSG Sailors spent more than half of the past year underway preparing for this deployment to 7th Fleet. They completed Composite Training Unit Exercise and Joint Task Force Exercise throughout July and August as well as a sustainment exercise in October.

JCSSG consists of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21 embarked, guided-missile destroyers USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), and USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53).

CVW-9 consists of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133 and Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 151, 97, 41 and 14.