Gonzo Station

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Gonzo Station was a U.S. Navy acronym for "Gulf of Oman Naval Zone of Operations" or "Gulf of Oman Northern Zone."[1] It was used to designate an area of carrier-based naval operations by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps in the Indian Ocean during the 1979-1981 Iranian Hostage Crisis and the so-called Tanker War between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Multilple aircraft carriers, their associated air wings and carrier battle groups, and associated sea-based and land-based task forces and task groups served on Gonzo Station. The USS Midway (CV-41) initiated the longest at-sea record for any U.S. warship since World War II by being at-sea for 93 consecutive days. It was the first on-scene carrier at the beginning of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, followed shortly thereafter by USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), with both carriers executing simultaneous air operations and carrier presence in the vicinity of one another off the southern coast of Iran.

USS Nimitz (CV-68), exceeded the USS Midway's record at sea days in May 1980 with 144 days at sea - for which the crew received the Navy Expeditionary Medal. In 1984 the USS Midway was on station for 111 days. Subsequent deployments by other carriers (USS America (CV-66), USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), et al.) dwindled the earlier records with over 180 days, or 6 months on-station.

Several U.S. Navy carriers from both the Atlantic Fleet and Pacific Fleet served repeated deployments to/on Gonzo Station, including the USS Ranger (CV-61), USS Midway (CV-41), USS Enterprise (CVN-65), USS America (CV-66), USS Independence (CV-62), USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), USS Constellation (CV-64), USS Coral Sea (CV-43), USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69). While replenishment ships normally rotated on and off line in order to resupply, USS Roanoke (AOR-7) served in formation 180 days, and USS Shasta (AE-33) served in formation for 78 days.

In 1980, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) served 315 days of deployed sea time with a consecutive 154-day line period (Jul 1980 - Dec 1980). This was the largest American Fleet dispatched to the Indian Ocean since World War II.

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  1. ^ "Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles that Shaped American History," Symonds, Craig L., Oxford Univ Press; New York, NY; c2005, p.275