The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) transit the Philippine Sea during a Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) combat stores ship USNS San Jose (T-AFS 7). Enterprise and embarked Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1) are currently underway on a scheduled six-month deployment in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Rob Gaston
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) left its homeport Feb. 28 for the first time since returning from its regularly scheduled six-month deployment in November.
For the next few weeks, Enterprise, along with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, will conduct carrier qualifications while underway in the Atlantic to maintain combat readiness.
Preserving the Enterprise’s ability to remain in surge status is key to the Navy’s Fleet Response Program (FRP), which gives the Navy the ability to deploy up to six carrier strike groups at a moment’s notice to wherever in the world a mission calls.
“Staying at the top of our game at all times is a critical component of retaining a high level of combat readiness,” said Capt. Larry Rice, Enterprise’s commanding officer. “As the surge carrier, we could be called to action in the event of unexpected threats or contingency operations. We need to continue to train like we fight, be ready for anything that may come our way, and always remember we are a combat-ready strike force.”
The Big E is the centerpiece of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG), which also includes USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Stout (DDG 55), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), USS James E. Williams (DDG 95), USS Gettysburg (CG 64), USS Philadelphia (SSN 690) and the fast combat supply ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 6).
In addition to being the flagship of the strike group, Enterprise is also the home to CVW-1. The air wing is comprised of the “Checkmates” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 211 flying the F/A-18 Super Hornet and; the “Knighthawks” of VFA-136; the “Sidewinders” of VFA-86; the “Thunderbolts” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251 all flying the F/A-18 Hornet. Also joining CVW-1 are the “Dragonslayers” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 11 flying the SH-60 Seahawk; the “Rooks” of Electronic Attack Squadron One (VAQ) 137 flying the EA-6B Prowler; the “Maulers” of Sea Control (VS) 32 flying the S-3B Viking; the “Screwtops" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123 flying the E-2C Hawkeye; and the “Rawhides” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 flying the C-2A Greyhound.
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Jen Crenshaw, USS Enterprise Public Affairs