An F/A-18F Super Hornet, from the "Black Aces" of Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 41, lands aboard nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). Nimitz Carrier Strike
Group is deployed in support of Maritime Security Operations (MSO). U.S. Navy photo
by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Eduardo Zaragoza
The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG) entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations May 8 to conduct maritime security operations (MSO) in regional waters, and provide air support to ground forces operating in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Nimitz CSG relieves the Dwight D. Eisenhower CSG. Their arrival continues the current two-carrier presence in the Middle East, demonstrating the United States’ resolve to enhance security and support long-term stability in the region.
Commanded by Rear Adm. Terry Blake, Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 11, Nimitz CSG includes the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) with its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, and embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23; guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton
(CG 59); guided-missile destroyers USS John Paul Jones
(DDG 53), USS Higgins
(DDG 76), USS Chafee (DDG 90), and USS Pinckney (DDG 91); Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 “Scorpions,” HSL-37 “Easy Riders,” and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 11, Detachment 15.
“I’m extremely proud of the Sailors and Marines of the Nimitz Strike Group,” said Blake. “They have worked hard to ensure we arrive in theatre ready to support ongoing coalition operations. We are looking forward to working closely with our regional partners to demonstrate our commitment to enhanced security operations in this diverse theatre,” he said.
The squadrons of CVW-11 include Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14 “Tophatters,” VFA-41 “Black Aces,” VFA-81 “Sunliners,” Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117 “Wallbangers,” Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 135 “Black Ravens,” Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 “Providers,” and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 6 “Indians.”
MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists the use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other materials.
U.S. 5th Fleet, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, is responsible for an area encompassing approximately 2.5 million square miles of water including the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean.
From Nimitz Strike Group Public Affairs