USS Nimitz (CVN 68), USS Kidd (DDG 100) and USS Shoup (DDG 86) departed their homeports of Naval Base Kitsap and Naval Station Everett, respectively, for a regularly scheduled deployment.
This is a previously planned, routine deployment and is not in response to any specific incident or regional event. This deployment is an example of the U.S. Navy's routine presence in waters around the globe displaying our commitment to stability, regional cooperation and economic prosperity for all nations.
"This deployment is the culmination of months of intensive training and preparations," said Rear Adm. Bill Byrne Jr., commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11. "The Nimitz Strike Group stands ready to respond to a wide variety of contingencies, be that a humanitarian disaster or a regional incident. We're honored to be in this position to answer the nation's call to duty."
Nimitz, the flagship of the strike group, Kidd and Shoup will make a brief stop at Naval Air Station North Island to meet up with the other ships and units of the strike group.
Strike Group units have spent most of the past seven months underway preparing for deployment. Nimitz participated in a series of pre-deployment inspections and training evolutions, including Board of Inspection and Survey and a Composite Training Unit Exercise that certified them ready for deployment.
"[Nimitz and the entire] strike group have performed exceptionally well throughout this maintenance and training cycle," said Capt. Kevin Lenox, Nimitz' commanding officer. "I feel incredibly lucky and humbled to lead such a talented and hardworking team."
Units embarked aboard Nimitz for deployment will be CSG-11 staff, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9.
Also embarked will be the squadrons of CVW-11: 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, Washington
-based "Gray Wolves" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 142, the Norfolk, Virginia-based "Blue Tails" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 and 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.
The ships of DESRON 9 include the Everett-based guided-missile destroyers USS Shoup (DDG 86) and USS Kidd (DDG 100), the San Diego-based Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Howard (DDG 83) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91) and the San Diego-based Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59).
The Nimitz Strike Group last deployed in 2013. Since then, Nimitz hosted the first aircraft carrier landings of the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter aircraft in 2014 and completed a 20-month extended planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, which completed in October 2016.
"We are especially pleased to have the support of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard," said Lenox. "The shipyard provided an industrial capability that has enabled a 42-year-old warship to perform at the highest level of readiness."
Nimitz Strike Group is part of U.S. 3rd Fleet, which leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. U.S. 3rd Fleet constantly coordinates with U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions based on their complementary strengths to promote ongoing peace, security and stability throughout the entire Pacific theater of operations.