In the Western Pacific
The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is under way – operating off the northern Philippines. The USS Reagan (CVN-76) just finished a six-month maintenance period in Japan. As the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier in Japan, she normally covers the forward presence requirements in the western Pacific. When the Reagan undergoes scheduled maintenance periods, normal practice is to “cover” the requirement by deploying another carrier to the western Pacific. The USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) and her strike group were deployed in the Western Pacific to fill this role.
Her job done, the USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is headed home to San Diego.
In the Eastern Pacific
The USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group left San Diego on Tuesday and is headed west. The USS Nimitz (CVN-68) is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 11, which includes guided-missile destroyers USS Shoup (DDG-86) and USS Kidd (DDG-100) from Naval Station Everett, Washington, guided-missile destroyers USS Howard (DDG-83) and USS Pinckney (DDG-91) and guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG-59) from San Diego, and all the aircraft squadrons that compose Carrier Air Wing 11.
Carrier Air Wing 11 composition:
- The Lemoore, California-based “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, “Black Knights” of VFA-154, “Blue Diamonds” of VFA-146
- The San Diego-based “Death Rattlers” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323
- The Whidbey Island-based “Gray Wolves” of Electronic Attack Squadron 142
- The Point Mugu, California-based “Blue Tails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121
- The San Diego-based “Eightballers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8, “Wolfpack” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75, and “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30.
*Note that one of the four fighter/attack squadrons in the wing is a Marine Corps squadron – VMFA 323. Marine fighter squadrons are carrier-capable and some Marine fighter squadrons integrate into Navy carrier-based wings for deployment.
The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group will sail across the Pacific, and likely will continue to sail all the way to the Persian Gulf. The Nimitz is homeported in Bremerton. She sailed from there to San Diego to join with the other strike group elements before heading west.
The USS America Amphibious Ready Group and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit are completing their final training and certifications prior to deploying later this year.
In the Persian Gulf
There currently is no U.S. aircraft carrier in the Gulf.
The USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit is in port in Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates. The USS Bataan (LHD-5) Amphibious Ready Group with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived in theater in March.
*Depending on how it plays out, the situation in Qatar could have great impact. There are some 10,000 U.S. personnel there – mostly U.S. Air Force. Almost all U.S. land-based aircraft in the region currently fly out of Qatar. If the operations in Qatar are interrupted and those land-based aircraft cannot fly, it will increase pressure and demand on sea-based assets.
In the Mediterranean
The USS George H W Bush Carrier Strike Group just transited the Suez and is operating in the Mediterranean. The USS George H W Bush (CVN-77) is headed to her homeport of Norfolk, Virginia.