SAN DIEGO - The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and elements of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG), deployed from San Diego, June 8, in support of global maritime security operations.
Prior to deploying, the strike group completed a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX), designed to fully integrate units of a carrier strike group, while testing a strike group's ability as a whole to carry out sustained combat operations from the sea. Ships, squadrons and staffs were tested across every core warfare area within their mission sets through a variety of simulated and live events, including air warfare, strait transits, and responses to surface and subsurface contacts and electronic attacks.
“The carrier strike group team is trained and ready,” Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander, CSG 11. “The men and women of Carrier Strike Group 11 have demonstrated exceptional tactical and technical expertise, teamwork, and toughness. We are honored to answer the call and operate forward.”
A CSG is capable of deploying anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice to meet the needs of the country and its allies. In addition to conducting maritime security operations whenever and wherever called upon, NIM CSG units will participate in cooperative engagements, multilateral exercises and unit-level training, designed to improve capability and capacity among Navy units and partner nations in the regions they may operate in.
All personnel assigned to NIM CSG completed a minimum, 14-day quarantine ashore and were tested for COVID-19 prior to getting underway with their respective units. Sailors assigned to Nimitz completed a 27-day fast cruise aboard the ship which also included their COVID-19 testing period.
Leading up to and throughout COMPTUEX, NIM CSG units conducted aggressive mitigation measures to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19, including the wearing of face coverings, social distancing, minimizing meetings and gatherings, and thorough cleaning of spaces multiple times each day. They will continue those mitigation measures to ensure the safety of their Sailors and Marines.
"Learning to operate in this COVID environment has not been easy, but the Nimitz crew has demonstrated their adaptability and resiliency in overcoming the challenges and have remained focused on maintaining readiness," said Capt. Max Clark, commanding officer. "I couldn't be more proud of the team in being ready to deploy on time and mission ready to answer any call."
In addition to Nimitz, Nimitz CSG deploying units include Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9, which includes Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett (DDG 104), and USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114). CVW-17 consists of the Lemoore, California-based “Kestrels” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 137, “Mighty Shrikes” of VFA 94, “Fighting Redcocks” of VFA 22; the San Diego-based “Death Rattlers” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, the Whidbey Island, Washington-based “Cougars” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 139, the Point Mugu, California-based “Sun Kings” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 116, and the San Diego-based “Indians” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 6, “Battlecats” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 73 and “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30.
Sterett departed Naval Base San Diego June 4, Princeton departed Naval Base San Diego June 6, and Ralph Johnson is scheduled to depart San Diego tomorrow.