Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group Units Begin to Return from Deployment

Elements of the U.S. Navy Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group began returning home June 5, marking the end of their deployment after operating in the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) returned to Norfolk Naval Station, after nine-months underway, while more than more than 100 U.S. Navy aviators from nine squadrons from Carrier Air Wing One (CVW)-1 returned to their home bases at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Norfolk Naval Station, Norfolk, Virginia; Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington; Naval Air Station Lemoore, California; and Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida.

Following a return from deployment in March after operating in 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations, the HSTCSG remained underway in the western Atlantic during their sustainment phase of the OFRP cycle as a certified and ready carrier strike group force ready for tasking. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, the HSTCSG continued to conduct operations underway, minimizing the potential spread of the virus aboard the ships, in order to maintain maritime stability and security and ensure access, deter aggression, and defend U.S., allied and partner interests.

The ships each sailed over 55,000 nautical miles, deploying dynamically through multiple Surface Action Groups (SAGs), Arctic operations, dual-carriers operations, and exercises with allies and partners. The ships also completed multiple strait and choke point transits, to include the Strait of Gibraltar, the Suez Canal and the Bab-el Mandeb Strait, while operating under four Combatant Commanders – U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM, U.S. European Command (EUCOM), U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), and U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).

The Normandy and Forrest Sherman deployed September 12 as part of the East Coast Surface Action Group with Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Lassen (DDG 82) and USS Farragut (DDG 99). Harry S. Truman and CVW-1 deployed on November 18 in support of maritime stability and security, as the flagship of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group.

While in U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, Normandy, Forrest Sherman, and CVW-1 supported Coalition Task Force (CTF) Sentinel, maintaining freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce through the heavily transited Strait of Hormuz. These operations were instrumental in maintaining stability throughout the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, and Arabian Sea.

While operating in U.S. 5th Fleet, Normandy and Forrest Sherman each interdicted large caches of missile components aboard fishing dhows in international waters. These illicit shipments, discovered in November by Forrest Sherman and in February by Normandy, were intended for Houthi forces in Yemen.

“Our nine month deployment has been historic by any measure,” said Capt. Chris Stone, Normandy’s commanding officer. “From deploying in command of a Surface Action Group to the Arctic, increasing interoperability with regional partners throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the High North, standing ready to defend our nation’s values during heightened tension with Iran to executing the largest maritime advanced conventional weapons seizure in U.S. Navy history, NORMANDY Sailors have answered the call to service. As we look forward to reuniting with our loved ones, I could not be more proud of the men and women onboard NORMANDY and throughout the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group.”

Carrier Air Wing One (CVW) 1, commanded by Capt. Fitz Gentry, departed Norfolk on November 18, 2019. CVW-1 assets supported Central Command (CENTCOM) air superiority missions during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. During deployment, CVW-1 completed U.S. 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Fleet operational requirements, resulting in 8,600 fixed wing sorties, 7,200 traps and more than 16,500 mishap-free flight hours.

“This marks the culmination of an extended deploy-sustain-deploy cycle marked by operational challenges and uncertainty,” said Gentry. “Throughout this arduous deployment, Carrier Air Wing ONE has repeatedly demonstrated the extensive flexibility, agility, and lethality inherent to our nation’s carrier force. I could not be more proud of the efforts and achievements of our Sailors, Chiefs and Officers or more appreciative of their and their families’ sacrifices.”

In the Western Atlantic under 2nd Fleet, Truman, Normandy and Forrest Sherman remained underway conducting a week of naval air integration exercises with Marine Corps elements assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (2nd MAW). Following these operations, the ships, under the operational control of U.S. Northern Command, participated in a major homeland defense exercise in partnership with North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), U.S. Space Command (SPACECOM), and the Canadian Royal Navy (RCN) and Air Force (RCA).

The HSTCSG proved the U.S. Navy can be a predictable strategic partner, displaying commitment to deterring aggression while facing emerging threats around the globe.

The Truman, Lassen and Farragut will return home later this month after completing necessary maintenance underway.

Normandy and Forrest Sherman are homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.

Squadrons of CVW-1 include Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 “Red Rippers;” VFA-81 “Sunliners;” VFA-136 “Knighthawks;” VFA-211 “Fighting Checkmates;” Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137 “Rooks;” Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 126 “Seahawks;” Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 72 “Proud Warriors;” Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 11 “Dragon Slayers;” and a detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 “Rawhides.”

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron flies over USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) on May 20, 2020.  (USN photo by MCSN Isaac Esposito)

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