By Lt. Nathan Christensen, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet
USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- The USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSSG) entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO) Feb.19 to conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in regional waters, as well as to provide support for ground forces operating in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Led by Rear Adm. Kevin Quinn, Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3, the strike group includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON)21, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), guided-missile destroyers USS O’Kane (DDG 77) and USS Preble (DDG 88), and the fast combat-support ship USNS
Bridge (T-AOE 10). More than 6,500 Sailors and Marines are assigned to JCSSG.
“The USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group is here to help foster stability and security in the region,” said Quinn. “We look forward to working with our coalition partners to provide support for ground forces operating in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as conducting maritime security operations that help provide a safe environment for shipping within the region. We are ready, we are sustainable, we are flexible and we provide significant capabilities that contribute to regional peace and security.”
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 use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
U.S. 5th Fleet’s AOO encompasses 2.5 million square miles of water and includes the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea
, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean.