Carrier Strike Group Two

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Carrier Strike Group Two
Carrier Strike Group Two logo.PNG
Carrier Strike Group Two emblem
Active 1 October 2004 to date.
Country United States of America
Branch United States Navy Seal United States Navy
Type Carrier Strike Group
Role Naval air/surface warfare
Part of United States Fleet Forces Command
Garrison/HQ Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia
Nickname George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group
Engagements War in Afghanistan
War in Iraq
Operation Steel Curtain
Website Official Website
Commanders
Commander Rear Admiral DeWolfe H. Miller III, USN[1]
Chief of Staff Captain Sean T. Moriarty, USN[2]
Command Master Chief ITCM (SW/AW) Nancy Smogoleski, USN[3]
Notable
commanders
James A. Winnefeld, Jr.
David M. Thomas
Nora W. Tyson
Aircraft flown
Electronic
warfare
EA-18G Growler[4]
E-2C Hawkeye[4]
Fighter F/A-18E/F Super Hornet[4]
F/A-18A/C Hornet[4]
Helicopter MH-60R Seahawk[4]
MH-60S Knighthawk[4]
Transport Grumman C-2 Greyhound[5]

Carrier Strike Group Two (CSG-2 or CARSTRKGRU 2) is one of four U.S. Navy carrier strike groups currently assigned to the United States Fleet Forces Command. Carrier strike groups gain and maintain sea control as well as project naval airpower ashore.[6][7]

The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush is the strike group's current flagship. As of 2014, other group units include Carrier Air Wing Eight; the cruisers Philippine Sea, Leyte Gulf, and Anzio; and Destroyer Squadron 22:[8] Gravely, Truxtun, Mason, Bulkeley, Arleigh Burke.[9]

The group traces its history to the creation of Carrier Division 2 on 1 April 1931. The group took its current form on 1 October 2004. On 29 July 2010, Rear Admiral Nora W. Tyson assumed command of the group, becoming the first woman to command a U.S. Navy carrier task group. The group's 2011 Mediterranean deployment marked the maiden deployment for the carrier George H.W. Bush and the guided-missile destroyer Truxtun.

Historical background[edit]

On 1 April 1931, Rear Admiral Joseph M. Reeves took command of Carrier Division Two (CarDiv 2), becoming the first carrier division commander in the U.S. Navy. Reeves was also designated as Commander Aircraft U.S. Fleet.[10] Carrier Division Two initially consisted of the U.S. Navy's first true fast aircraft carriers, Lexington and Saratoga, as well as former minesweeper Gannet which acted as an aircraft tender and guardship for the two carriers.[11] Under Reeves' leadership, both carriers had previously distinguished themselves in two major naval exercises, the 1929 Fleet Problem IX and the 1930 Fleet Problem X, demonstrating the potential of aircraft carriers and their embarked air groups in naval offensive operations.[12] Aircraft carriers from Carrier Division Two became the first to embark U.S. Marine Corps aviation units when, on 2 November 1931, squadron VS-14M joined the Saratoga and squadron VS-15M joined the Lexington.[13]

In 1933, Saratoga and Langley were assigned to Carrier Division Two, which was under the Commander Aircraft, Battle Force, while Lexington was reassigned to Carrier Division One under Commander Aircraft, Scouting Force.[14] In February 1939, Carrier Division Two, now consisting of Yorktown and Enterprise, participated in the war game Fleet Problem XX. The scenario for the exercise called for one fleet to control the sea lanes in the Caribbean against the incursion of a foreign European power while maintaining sufficient naval strength to protect vital American interests in the Pacific.[15][16] In December 1941, on the eve of the United States' entry into the Second World War, Carrier Division Two was under the command of Vice Admiral William F. Halsey, who was also the Commander Aircraft Battle Force in the Pacific Ocean.[17]

During the Second World War, aircraft carriers assigned to Carrier Division Two participated in the Doolittle Raid, the Battle of Midway, the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, Operation Hailstone, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf, as well as the Solomon Islands campaign, the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign, the Hollandia and Western New Guinea campaign, the Philippines Campaign, the Mariana and Palau Islands campaign, the Iwo Jima campaign, and the Okinawan campaign, as part of the Navy's Fast Carrier Task Force.[18] Rear Admiral Frederick C. Sherman commanded the division in 1943 while it was operating with the Fast Carrier Task Force.

On 1 August 1955 the division was made up of USS Bennington (Newport) and USS Lake Champlain (flagship) at Mayport.[19] Ranger sailed as the flagship of Rear Admiral H. H. Caldwell, Commander, Carrier Division 2, from Hawaii to join the Seventh Fleet in February 1959. Air operations off Okinawa were followed by maneuvers with naval units from U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay. A special weapons warfare exercise and a patrol along the southern seaboard of Japan followed. During this deployment, Ranger launched more than 7,000 sorties.

After the war, division aircraft carriers were involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War.[20] USS Enterprise flew the flag of Commander Carrier Division 2 in 1963. Rear Admiral Bernard M. Strean, as division commander, led Enterprise, Long Beach, and Bainbridge around the world in Operation Sea Orbit from July to October 1964. 'Sea Orbit' was a successful test of the first all-nuclear-powered task force. On 25 September 1965, Rear Admiral J. O. Cobb broke his flag as Commander, Carrier Division 2, aboard USS America. The division was re-designated as Commander Carrier Group 2 (ComCarGru 2) in 1973.

In 1986, while commanding Carrier Group Two, Rear Admiral Jerry C. Breast commanded the Coral Sea carrier battle group and Task Group 60.1 of the U.S. Sixth Fleet during a series of naval maneuvers code-named Attain Document. These naval maneuvers were intended to assert the freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Sidra as well as to challenge the territorial claims of Libya to that body of water. Subsequently, the Coral Sea carrier battle group and the rest of Task Force 60 carried out Operation El Dorado Canyon, a series of punitive air-strikes against Libya in retaliations to the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing.[21][22]

On 15 August 1990, the group staff embarked in USS John F. Kennedy for a no-notification combat deployment in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The battle group deployed for Operation Desert Storm only five days after notification, even though she had dispersed her air wing throughout the continental United States for training and just off-loaded stores and material in preparation for a routine yard period. Rear Admiral Riley Mixson, Commander, Carrier Group Two, acted as Commander, Battle Force Yankee of Naval Forces Central Command during the war. Battle Force Yankee included Saratoga and probably John F. Kennedy, and operated in the Red Sea.

In the middle of 1992, the U.S. Navy instituted a concept which mandated greater task group integration of naval air and surface warfare assets into a more permanent carrier battle group structure. Instead of routinely changing the cruisers, destroyers, and frigates assigned to each carrier battle group, there was an attempt made to affiliate certain escorts more permanently with the carriers they escorted. Each of the Navy's 12 existing carrier battle groups was planned to consist of an aircraft carrier; an embarked carrier air wing; cruiser, destroyer, and frigate units; and two nuclear-powered attack submarines.[23] For details regarding this re-alignments as it pertained to Carrier Group Two, see the chart below.[24]

Carrier Group Two, late 1992[24]
Cruisers/Submarines Destroyer Squadron 20 Carrier Air Wing 3 squadrons embarked aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67)
USS Cape St. George (CG-71) USS O'Bannon (DD-987) USS Halyburton (FFG-40) Fighter Squadron 32: F-14B Airborne Early Warning Sqd. 126: E-2C
USS Gettysburg (CG-64) USS John Rodgers (DD-983) USS Underwood (FFG-36) Fighter Squadron 14: F-14B Sea Control Squadron 38: S-3A
USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55) USS Caron (DD-970) USS Stark (FFG-31) Strike Fighter Squadron 105: F/A-18C Helicopter Anti-Submarine Sqd. 7: SH-3H
USS Wainwright (CG-28) —— USS McInerney (FFG-8) Strike Fighter Squadron 37: F/A-18C ——
USS Albuquerque (SSN-706) —— —— Attack Squadron 75: A-6E, KA-6D ——
USS Seahorse (SSN-669) —— —— Airborne Early Warning Sqd. 130: EA-6B ——

During its Mediterranean deployments, the Kennedy battle group flew large numbers of Operation Deny Flight no-fly zone missions over Bosnia-Herzegovina. The battle group also saw service with the U.S. Fifth Fleet in support Operation Southern Watch, the enforcement of a no-fly zone over southern Iraq. Commander Carrier Group Two also served as Commander Joint Task Force 120 during Operation Uphold Democracy, the 1994–1995 intervention designed to remove the military regime in Haiti installed by the 1991 Haitian coup d'état.[20] It appears that Kennedy transferred to another carrier group in 1995, as the announced 31 August 1995, listing of Carrier Group Two's composition included USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) and USS San Jacinto (CG-56). In addition, USS Monterey (CG-61) was intended to join the group in 1996–97.[25] In September 1995, USS Hue City (CG-66) joined Carrier Group Two.[26] Hue City was transferred from Carrier Group 2 to the Western Hemisphere Group on 1 August 1998.

Theodore Roosevelt was reassigned to the group effective 1 February 2004, and the carrier underwent its Docked Planned Incremental Availability overhaul at the Newport Naval Yard in Virginia between 10 August to 10 December 2004.[27]

Command structure[edit]

Commander Carrier Strike Group 2 (COMCARSTRKGRU 2 or CCSG 2) is responsible for unit-level training, integrated training, and material readiness for the group's ships and aviation squadrons. When not deployed, the strike group is part of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command, and its commander reports to Commander Task Force 80, the director of Fleet Forces' Maritime Headquarters. Carrier Strike Group Two is designated Task Group 80.2.[28] When deployed overseas, the group comes under command of the numbered fleet (Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, or Seventh) in whose area it is operating, and will have a task force or task group designator, for example, Task Group 50.1 in the Fifth Fleet area.[29]

Group commanders since 2004 have included:

  • Rear Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr.   (July 2004 – June 2006)[30][31]
  • Rear Admiral Michael C. Vitale   (June 2006 – September 2007)[31][32]
  • Rear Admiral Frank Craig Pandolfe   (September 2007 – July 2009)[32][33]
  • Rear Admiral David M. Thomas   (July 2009 – July 2010)[34]
  • Captain Jeffrey A. Hesterman   (July 2010)[35]
  • Rear Admiral Nora W. Tyson   (July 2010 – January 2012)[35][36]
  • Rear Admiral Gregory M. Nosal   (January 2012 – March 2013)[36][37]
  • Rear Admiral John C. Aquilino   (March 2013 – February 2014)[1][37]
  • Rear Admiral DeWolfe H. Miller III   (February 2014 – Present)[1]

Operational history[edit]

On 1 October 2004, Carrier Group 2 was re-designated as Carrier Strike Group 2. Theodore Roosevelt underwent sea trials 11–15 December 2004, and the carrier was officially delivered back to the Navy on 17 December 2004.[27] Joint Task Force Exercise 05-2 (JTFEX 05-2, or Operation Brewing Storm 2005) was held between 14–22 July 2005. It included Carrier Strike Group Two, Carrier Strike Group Ten, the Spanish frigate Álvaro de Bazán, and the Peruvian submarine Antofagasta.[38][39] Carrier Strike Group Two received its Combat Operations Efficiency (COE) certification following the completion of its Composite Training Exercise on 17 July 2005.[40]

TR in the Persian Gulf (3 December 2005)

2005–2006 deployment[edit]

The strike group departed from Norfolk on 1 September 2005 under the command of Rear Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr.[41] On 6 October 2005, the group began air operations over Iraq, with fighter squadrons VF-213 and VF-31, along with the strike fighter squadrons VFA-87 and VFA-15, attacking insurgent targets.[42] Electronic Attack Squadron 141 (VAQ-141) operated from Al Asad, Iraq, from 24 September to 6 October 2005, flying 37 combat sorties. Aircraft from squadrons VAW-124, VS-24, and HS-3 flew maritime security missions.[41] Throughout the second week of November aircraft supported Operation Steel Curtain with five consecutive days of close air support for troops in Iraq.[41] The deployment was the final one for the F-14 Tomcat, and on 6 February 2006, the last Grumman F-14 Tomcat recovered from a combat mission landed on board the Theodore Roosevelt.[41][42][43] It was also the final deployment of the Lockheed S-3 Viking ASW aircraft of squadron VS-24.[43] Carrier Strike Group Two transited the Suez Canal on 15 February 2006, completing its overseas deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.[41] The strike group returned to Norfolk on 11 March 2006.

2005–2006 deployment force composition[41][44][45]
Group Warships Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) squadrons embarked aboard flagship USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)
USS San Jacinto (CG-56) Fighter Squadron 213 (VF-213): 10 F-14D Sea Control Squadron 24 (VS-24): 8 S-3
USS Oscar Austin (DDG-79) Fighter Squadron 31 (VF-31): 12 F-14D Tomcat Helicopter Squadron 3 (HS-3): 2 HH-60H & 4 SH-60F
USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) Strike Fighter Squadron 87 (VFA-87): 10 F/A-18C(N) Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 (VRC-40), Det. 1: 2 C-2A
SPS Álvaro de Bazán (F101) Strike Fighter Squadron 15 (VFA-15): 12 F/A-18C(N) Hornet ——
USNS Mount Baker (T-AE-34) Electronic Attack Squadron 141 (VAQ-141): 4 EA-6B ——
USNS Kanawha (T-AO-196) Carrier Airborne Early Warning (VAW-124): 4 E-2C 2000 NP ——
2005–2006 deployment exercises and port visits
Number Regional Exercises Port Visits Notes
Duration U.S. Force Bilateral/Multilateral Partner(s) Operating Area Location Dates
1st: —— Carrier Strike Group Two —— —— Palma de Mallorca, Spain 13–17 Sep 2005 [41][46]
2nd: —— Carrier Strike Group Two —— —— Naples, Italy 19–23 Sep 2005 [41][46]
3rd: —— Carrier Strike Group Two —— —— Jebel Ali, UAE 28 Dec 2005 [46]
4th: —— Carrier Strike Group Two —— —— Jebel Ali, UAE 22 Jan 2006 [46]
5th: —— Carrier Strike Group Two —— —— Souda Bay, Crete 22 Feb 2006 [46]

Operation Bold Step 2006[edit]

Aman 2009

Code-named Operation Bold Step, Joint Task Force Exercise 06-2 (JTFEX 06-2) was held a major multi-lateral naval exercise held off the U.S. eastern coast between 21–31 July 2006 under the overall command of Vice Admiral Mark P. Fitzgerald, the commander of the U.S. Second Fleet. Carrier Strike Group Two, Carrier Strike Group Eight, and the USS Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group were the major U.S. naval formations participating in Operation Bold Step which also served as a major pre-deployment training exercise. Other allied naval units that participated in Operation Bold Step included the French nuclear-powered submarine Émeraude and the Colombian diesel-electric submarine Tayrona.[47]

2008–2009 deployment[edit]

On 8 September 2008, the strike group departed for a regularly scheduled deployment under the command of Rear Admiral Frank Craig Pandolfe.[48][49] During its 2008 deployment, group aircraft flew more than 3,100 sorties into Afghanistan and dropped 59,500 pounds (27 t) of ordnance while providing vital close air support to coalition forces operating as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.[48] On 9 October 2008, Theodore Roosevelt and the guided missile cruiser Monterey participated in a one-day theater security cooperation exercise with three South African warships and one French Navy warship in the Indian Ocean following a 3-day port visit to Cape Town, the first by an U.S. aircraft carrier since 1967.[48][50][51]

Between 5–14 March 2009, Theodore Roosevelt, the cruiser Lake Champlain, and the Coast Guard cutter Boutwell participated in the international naval exercise Aman 2009 off the coast of Pakistan (pictured). The exercise was sponsored by the Pakistani Navy, and it included surface exercises, air-defense training, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) exercises, and participation in foreign officer exchanges. Aman 2009 include participants from Australia, Bangladesh, China, France, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Turkey, United States, and the United Kingdom. Also, 46 observers from naval forces of 27 countries monitored the exercise.[48][52][53]

2008–2009 deployment force composition[49][54][55]
Group Warships Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) squadrons embarked aboard flagship USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)
USS Monterey (CG-61) Strike Fighter Squadron 213 (VF-213): 12 F/A-18F Helicopter Squadron 3 (HS-3): 2 HH-60H & 4 SH-60F
USS Nitze (DDG-94) Strike Fighter Squadron 87 (VFA-87): 10 F/A-18CA+ Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 (VRC-40), Det. 1: 2 C-2A
USS Mason (DDG-87) Fighter Squadron 31 (VF-31): 12 F/A-18E ——
USS The Sullivans (DDG-68) Strike Fighter Squadron 15 (VFA-15): 10 F/A-18C(N) ——
USS Springfield (SSN-761) Electronic Attack Squadron 141 (VAQ-141): 4 EA-6B ——
USNS Supply (T-AOE-6) Carrier Airborne Early Warning (VAW-124): 4 E-2C ——
2008–2009 Deployment exercises and port visits
Number Regional Exercises Port Visits Notes
Duration U.S. Force Bilateral/Multilateral Partner(s) Operating Area Location Dates
1st: 10 Oct 2008 Carrier Strike Group Two Theater security cooperation (TSC)[Note 1] Indian Ocean Cape Town, South Africa 4–7 Oct 2008 [48][50][51]
2nd: —— Carrier Strike Group Two —— —— Jebel Ali, UAE 29 Nov 2008 [48]
3rd: —— Carrier Strike Group Two —— —— Jebel Ali, UAE 29 Jan 2009 [48]
4th: 5–14 Mar 2009 Theordore Roosevelt, Lake Champlain, Boutwell Aman 2009 North Arabian Sea Portsmouth, England 4 Apr 2009 [48][52][56][57]

2010 operations[edit]

In early 2010, more than 172 sailors from Carrier Strike Group Two took part in Operation Unified Response, the relief effort for earthquaked-ravaged Haiti. Rear Admial David M. Thomas and his command staff managed the movement of U.S. food, water, medical supplies and relief personnel to Haiti from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and ships operating off the coast. Thomas assumed command of Task Force 41, the U.S. Navy's sea-based element supporting JTF-Haiti, on 1 Feb 2010, after Carl Vinson's Carrier Strike Group One departed the area. The group staff alternated between being embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship Bataan and living in tents outside of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince until late March. Most of the strike group staff returned to Naval Station Norfolk by 25 March 2010 after a 70-day tour of duty, with Rear Admiral Thomas returning on 1 April 2010.[58]

2011 deployment[edit]

Gulf of Aden (13 August 2011)
Saxon Warrior '11 (20 May 2011)

The group departed from Naval Station Mayport, Florida, for its Joint Task Force Exercise pre-deployment training exercise on 14 February 2011 prior to its deployment.[59] The exercise was supported by personnel from NATO's Headquarters Naval Striking and Support Forces (STRIKFORNATO), with representatives from Canada, Denmark, Greece, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The objective of the exercise, which focused on major combat operations, was to increase allied multilateral interoperability.[60] STRIKFORNATO's interest in JTFEX training cycle dates back to 2008, and this is the first time that STRIKFORNATO had participated as a component commander in a carrier strike group certification.[61]

During its 2011 deployment, the group's aircraft completed nearly 12,000 sorties, made over 9,000 arrested landings, and logged almost 31,000 flight hours. This included 2,216 combat sorties supporting U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 20 tons of ordnance were delivered in support of coalition ground forces, consisting of laser-guided bombs, GPS munitions, and 20-mm ammunition. Carrier Air Wing Eight also participated in joint air operations with the Royal Jordanian Air Force and the Royal Saudi Air Force.[62] After departing Djibouti on 1 July 2011, Anzio conducted counter-piracy and maritime security operations as a unit of Combined Task Force 151 before paying a goodwill visit to Victoria, Seychelles on 18 August 2011.[63] On 13 August 2011, while with Combined Task Force 150 operating in the Gulf of Aden, the destroyer Mitscher provided assistance to the Sri Lankan cargo vessel Al Habib which was experiencing engineering problems and running low on water. Mitscher's boarding party transported supplies to the Al Habib via rigid-hulled inflatable boat (pictured).[64]

Also during this deployment, the group participated in Exercise Saxon Warrior '11, an eight-day NATO military exercise in the Western Approaches. Saxon Warrior '11 included naval forces from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, and Spain under the overall direction of Flag Officer Sea Training.[65][66] As part of Saxon Warrior '11, on 21 May 2011, the group's destroyers Truxtun and Mitscher joined the U.S. replenishment tanker Leroy Grumman and the Spanish frigate Almirante Juan de Borbón in conducting a transit exercise, with the British destroyer Gloucester and frigate Westminster acting as hostile forces during this exercise.[67] Also, the guided-missile cruiser Gettysburg and the British destroyer Dauntless conducted joint air defense exercises (pictured).[68]

On 8 December 2011, Gettysburg returned to Naval Station Mayport, Florida, and was greeted by Vice President Joe Biden.[69] On 10 December 2011, George H.W. Bush, Anzio, Mitscher, Truxtun returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, completing the first overseas deployment for the Bush and Truxtun.[70][71][72][73]

During 2011, the carrier George H.W. Bush and Carrier Air Wing Eight logged more than 250 days underway, 30,000 flight hours, and 14,000 sorties launched, which included 11,000 catapults shot, 15,000 aircraft recoveries, and no operational mishaps. The Bush also received the Battenberg Cup, Battle Effectiveness Award, and the Flatley Award for 2011.[74]

2011 deployment force composition[5][75][76]
Group Warships Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) squadrons embarked aboard flagship USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)
USS Anzio (CG-68) Strike Fighter Squadron 213 (VFA-213): 12 F/A-18F Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 124 (VAW-124): 4 E-2C
USS Gettysburg (CG-64) Strike Fighter Squadron 87 (VFA-87): 10 F/A-18A+ Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Squadron 9 (HSC-9): 7 MH-60S
USS Truxtun (DDG-103) Strike Fighter Squadron 31 (VFA-31): 12 F/A-18E Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 70 (HMS-70): 11 MH-60R
USS Mitscher (DDG-57) Strike Fighter Squadron 15 (VFA-15): 10 F/A-18C Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 (VRC-40), Det.5: 2 C-2A
—— Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron 141 (VAQ-141): 4–6 EA-18G ——
2011 deployment exercises and port visits
Number Regional Exercises Port Visits Notes
Duration U.S. Force Bilateral/Multilateral Partner(s) Operating Area Location Dates
1st: 19–26 May 2011 Carrier Strike Group Two Saxon Warrior '11: NATO Western Approaches Portsmouth, UK 27 May 2011 [65][66]
2nd: —— George H.W. Bush Almirante Juan de Borbón —— Cartagena, Spain 6–9 Jun 2011 [77][78]
3rd: —— Mitscher —— —— Durrës, Albania 3–6 Jun 2011 [64][79]
4th: —— Gettysburg —— —— Benidorm, Spain 6–9 Jun 2011 [80]
5th: —— Anzio —— —— Odessa, Ukraine 3–6 Jun 2011 [81]
6th: 6–18 Jun 2011 Anzio Sea Breeze 2011 Black Sea Batumi, Georgia 9–12 Jun 2011 [63][82][83]
7th: 6–10 Jun 2011 Mitscher Partnership of Adriatic Mariners (PAM) Adriatic Sea Bar, Montenegro 10–15 Jun 2011 [64][84]
8th: —— Truxtun —— —— Limassol, Cyprus 10–13 Jun 2011 [85]
9th —— George H.W. Bush, Gettysburg —— —— Naples, Italy 11–14 Jun 2011 [77][86][87][88]
10th: —— Truxtun —— —— Haifa, Israel 15–16 Jun 2011 [89]
11th: —— Truxtun —— —— Djibouti 26 Jun 2011 [90]
12th: —— Carrier Strike Group Two —— —— Al Hidd, Bahrain 10–14 Jul 2011 [77][91]
13th: —— Truxtun —— —— Manama, Bahrain 25 Jul – 13 Aug 2011 [90]
14th: 1 Jul to 18 Aug 2011 Anzio Combined Task Force 151 Gulf of Aden Victoria, Seychelles 18 Aug 2011 [63]
15th: —— George H.W. Bush —— —— Jebel Ali, UAE 31 Aug – 4 Sep 2011 [77][92]
16th: —— Gettysburg —— —— Manama, Bahrain 31 Aug – 6 Sep 2011 [93]
17th: —— Anzio —— —— Manama, Bahrain 29 Sep 2011 [63][94]
18th: —— Mitscher —— —— Manama, Bahrain 29 Sep – 4 Oct 2011 [64][95]
19th: —— Truxtun —— —— Manama, Bahrain 30 Sep 2011 [90]
20th: —— George H.W. Bush —— —— Jebel Ali, UAE 31 Oct 2011 [77]
21st: 3 Nov 2011 Mitscher Pakistani Navy: Shah Jahan Arabian Sea Lisbon, Portugal 23 Nov 2011 [96][97]
22nd: —— Truxtun —— —— Civitavecchia, Italy 23 Nov 2011 [98]
23rd: —— Anzio —— —— Palma de Mallorca, Spain 24–27 Nov 2011 [99][100]
24th: —— George H.W. Bush —— —— Marseille, France 25 Nov 2011 [101]

2012–2014 operations[edit]

On 25 July 2012, George H.W. Bush, began its four-month overhaul at Norfolk Naval Shipyard at Portsmouth, Virginia, which included scheduled short-term technical upgrades.[102] Also undergoing maintenance during 2012 were the guided-missile destroyers Bainbridge, Mason, Bulkeley, Ross, and Barry, as well as the guided-missile frigate Kauffman.[103] In February 2013, the Mitscher entered the BAE Systems facility at Norfolk, Virginia, for a six-month dry-docked overhaul.[104]

Carrier Strike Group Two underway (10 December 2013)

On 1 December 2012, the George H.W. Bush completed its maintenance cycle and began sea trials on 3 December 2012. After completing its sea trials on 4 December 2012, the Bush began its training and qualification cycle in preparation for the 2014 deployment of Carrier Strike Group Two. This included the on-loading of munitions in anticipation of the upcoming overseas deployment of Carrier Strike Group Two.[105][106]

The pre-deployment training cycle for Carrier Strike Group Two began with the successful completion of its Tailored Ship's Training Availability/Final Evaluation Problem (TSTA/FEP) training exercises on 23 August 2013. TSTA integrated individual units of Carrier Strike Group Two into a single formation while FEP is a graded 48-hour training evolution that evaluated how effectively the strike group operated together. These exercises were the first time that the George H.W. Bush and Carrier Air Wing Eight had operated together since 2011.[107] On 20 November 2013, Carrier Strike Group Two began its 29-day Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX). This series of training exercises were designed to certify the carrier strike group's deployment readiness by testing its capability to react to real-world scenarios as an integrated naval combat formation.[105][108] This included CVW-8 aircraft flying live bombing runs at the U.S. Navy's Pinecastle Bombing Range in Ocala National Forest, Florida between 18–18 December 2013.[105]

At the start of 2014, Carrier Strike Group Two was in port and not underway.[109] On 12 February 2014, U.S. Fleet Forces Command announced that Saturday, 15 February 2014, is the scheduled departure date of Carrier Strike Group Two for its upcoming 2014 overseas deployment to the U.S. Fifth Fleet in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf region.[110]

2012–2013 exercises and port visits
Number Exercises/Operations Port Visits Notes
Duration U.S. Force Joint/Bilateral/Multilateral Partner(s) Operating Area Location Dates
1st: 1 Jun to 1 Dec 2012 Carr[Note 2] Joint Interagency Task Force South U.S. Fourth Fleet Various Various [111]
2nd: 20–28 Sep 2012 Anzio, Gravely UNITAS Atlantic 53-2012[Note 3] Caribbean Sea NAS Key West, Florida 16–20 Sep 2012 [112][113]
3rd: 1–11 Oct 2012 Gettysburg, Mitscher[Note 4] Joint Warrior 12-2[Note 5] Western Approaches Portsmouth, U.K. 13–18 Oct 2012 [104][114][115]
4th: 7 Jan 2013 George H.W. Bush Munitions on-loading: William McLean Atlantic Ocean —— —— [105]
5th: 30 Jul to 30 Aug 2013 Carrier Strike Group Two Group Sail: TSTA/FEP[Note 6] Atlantic Ocean —— —— [105][116]
8th: 20 Nov to 18 Dec 2013 Carrier Strike Group Two COMPTUEX: Strike Force Training Atlantic (CSFTL) Atlantic Ocean —— —— [105][108]

2014 deployment[edit]

Souda Bay (6 March 2014)
Gulf of Aden (6 March 2014)
VFA-15 F/A-18C Hornet on board USS George H.W. Bush (August 8, 2014)
Persian Gulf (Sept. 15 2014)

On 15 February 2014, Carrier Strike Group Two began its 2014 deployment to the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea and the U.S. Fifth Fleet in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The carrier George H.W. Bush and the destroyer Truxtun departed Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, to rendezvous with the cruiser Philippine Sea and destroyer Roosevelt that departed Naval Station Mayport, Florida, on 15 February 2014. Also on that date, the destroyer Arleigh Burke departed Norfolk for an independent eight-month Ballistic Missile Defense deployment with the U.S. Fifth Fleet.[117][118] On 17 February 2014, Rear Admiral DeWolfe H. Miller, III relieved Rear Admiral John C. Aquilino as Commander, Carrier Strike Group Two. A naval aviator, Miller had previously commanded the carrier George H.W. Bush while Aquilino's next assignment was operations director of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.[1][119][120]

U.S. Sixth Fleet[edit]

On 24 February 2014, Carrier Strike Group Two entered the U.S. Sixth Fleet's area of responsibility.[121] On 27 February 2014, the group transited the Straits of Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean Sea.[122]

Crimean Crisis

With the Crimean crisis unfolding, on 6 March 2014, the guided-missile destroyer Truxtun (pictured) departed Souda Bay, Greece, for operations in the Black Sea with units of the Romanian and Bulgarian navies. The official U.S. Navy news release noted that "Truxtun's operations in the Black Sea were scheduled well in advance of her departure from the United States."[123] The U.S. Department of Defense also announced that Carrier Strike Group Two's deployment to the U.S. Fifth Fleet would be temporarily delayed, and the carrier group held in the Mediterranean Sea because of the ongoing crisis in the Crimea.[124]

Morning Glory Incident

In the early morning hours of 17 March 2014, a team of United States Navy SEALs team operating from the USS Roosevelt successfully retook the hijacked North Korean-flagged oil tanker Morning Glory from Libyan terrorists while steaming in international waters off the southeast coast of Cyprus. The Morning Glory had been seized "earlier in the month" by an armed group in the Libyan port of As-Sidra. The hijackers unsuccessfully attempted to sell the ship's oil cargo illegally on the black market, with the earnings going to their separatist group and not the Libyan interim central government's National Oil Corporation.[124][125]

U.S. Fifth Fleet[edit]

Task Force 50

On 19 March 2014, Carrier Strike Group Two transited the Suez Canal and joined the U.S. Fifth Fleet. The destroyer Truxtun rejoined the carrier group after departing the Black Sea on 21 March 2014.[126] On 22 March 2014, Carrier Strike Group Two relieved Carrier Strike Group Ten as Task Force 50 in the Gulf of Aden (pictured). Operating in the North Arabian Sea, Carrier Air Wing Eight launched its first combat sorties in support of coalition forces in Afghanistan on 26 March 2014.[120]

Iraqi Crisis

With the ISIS military invasion of Iraq intensifying, Carrier Strike Group Two entered the Persian Gulf on 14 June 2014. Joining the carrier George HW Bush, the cruiser Philippine Sea, and the destroyer Truxtun were the destroyers Arleigh Burke and O'Kane which had been operating in the Persian Gulf.[120][127] CVW-8 aircraft began flying combat air patrols over Iraq on 19 June 2014.[120]

On 8 August 2014, Carrier Strike Group Two conducted air-strikes directed to stop the advancement of ISIS forces into Erbil. These air strikes marked the return of U.S. air combat forces to Iraq since the end of the U.S. military operations in 2011.[128] By 20 August 2014, the strike group had launched 30 airstrikes against ISIS targets although the majority of the sorties have been devoted to surveillance missions.[129]

Forces, operations, and port visits[edit]

2014 deployment force composition[4]
Group Warships Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) squadrons embarked aboard flagship USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)
USS Philippine Sea (CG-58) Strike Fighter Squadron 213 (VFA-213): 12 F/A-18F Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 124 (VAW-124): 4 E-2C
USS Truxtun (DDG-103) Strike Fighter Squadron 87 (VFA-87): 10 F/A-18C Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Squadron 9 (HSC-9): 8 MH-60S
USS Roosevelt (DDG-80) Strike Fighter Squadron 31 (VFA-31): 12 F/A-18E Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 70 (HMS-70): 11 MH-60R
USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) Strike Fighter Squadron 15 (VFA-15): 10 F/A-18C Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 (VRC-40), Det. 2: 2 C-2A
—— Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron 141 (VAQ-141): 5 EA-18G ——
2014 deployment exercises and port visits[120][130][131][132][133]
Number Exercises/Operations Port Visits Notes
Duration U.S. Forces Joint/Bilateral/Multilateral Partner(s) Operating Area Location Dates
1st —— Arleigh Burke —— —— Marseille, France 2–14 Mar 2014 [130]
2nd: —— Truxtun —— —— Souda Bay, Greece 3–6 Mar 2014 [123][131]
3rd: —— Bush, Philippine Sea —— —— Piraeus, Greece 4–7 Mar 2014 [120][132][134][135]
4th: —— Roosevelt —— —— Koper, Slovenia 4–7 Mar 2014 [124][133]
5th: 12 Mar 2014 Truxtun PASSEX: Romanian Naval Forces & Bulgarian Navy[Note 7] Black Sea Constanta, Romania 8–12 Mar 2014 [131][136][137]
6th: 17 Mar 2014 Roosevelt U.S. Navy SEALs Mediterranean Sea Split, Croatia 8–11 Mar 2014 [133][138]
7th: 13 Mar 2014 Bush, Philippine Sea PASSEX: FS Cassard (D614) Mediterranean Sea Antalya, Turkey 9–12 Mar 2014 [120][132]
8th: —— Truxtun —— —— Varna, Bulgaria 13–16 Mar 2014 [131][139]
9th: 29 March 2014 Bush, Philippine Sea Air Defense Exercise (ADEX)[Note 8] North Arabian Sea Hidd, Bahrain 22–28 Apr. 2014 [120][132]
10th: —— Arleigh Burke —— —— Hidd, Bahrain 29 Mar. 2014 [130]
11th: —— Roosevelt —— —— Hidd, Bahrain [Note 9] [133]
12th: —— Truxtun —— —— Aqaba, Jordan 19–23 Apr. 2014 [131]
13th: —— Arleigh Burke —— —— Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. 26–31 Apr. 2014 [130]
14th: May 2014 Truxtun Exercise Eager Lion 2014 Persian Gulf Muscat, Oman 9–12 May 2014 [131]
15th: —— Arleigh Burke —— —— Hidd, Bahrain [Note 10] [130]
16th: —— Bush, Philippine Sea —— —— Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. 24–28 May 2014 [120][132]
17th: 24 May 2014 Truxtun Exercise Khunjar Haad Red Sea Hidd, Bahrain 30 May – 7 Jun 2014 [131]
18th: —— Arleigh Burke —— —— Jebel Ali, U.A.E. 9–13 Jul 2014 [130]
19th: 8 Aug 2014 Bush, CVW-8, Task Force 50 Combat air strike operations: Northern Iraq Persian Gulf Jebel Ali, U.A.E. 2–6 Aug 2014 [130]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ South African Navy frigate SAS Isandlwana (F146), oiler SAS Drakensberg (A301), patrol boat SAS Isaac Dyobia (P1565), and the French Navy frigate Floreal (F730).
  2. ^ Detachment 2 of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 46 (HSL-48) embarked.
  3. ^ Other warships included HMS Dauntless, BNS Greenhalgh, ARC Antioquia, ARM Independencia, and HMCS Preserver.
  4. ^ Detachment 2 of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 46 (HSL-48) embarked.
  5. ^ Joint Warrior 12-2 involved ground-air-sea forces from the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Holland, Belgium, Estonia, Norway, Sweden, and the United States.
  6. ^ Tailored Ship's Training Availability (TSTA) and Final Evaluation Problem (FEP) with George H.W. Bush, USS Truxtun (DDG-103), USS Roosevelt (DDG-80), USS Philippine Sea (CG-58), and USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55)
  7. ^ BGS Drazki (F 41), ROS Regina Maria (F222), ROS Admiral Petre Barbuneanu (F260), and ROS Contraamiral Eustatiu Sebastian (F264)
  8. ^ Spanish frigate Cristóbal Colón (F105) and Italian destroyer ITS Francesco Mimbelli (D561)
  9. ^ 2 April 2014, 2–6 May 2014
  10. ^ May 10-16 May and 30 May - 6 June
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