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USS John C. Stennis Now Operating in Persian Gulf

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2007 – The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis entered the Persian Gulf today escorted by the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Official Navy file photo of USS John C. Stennis.

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

While in the gulf, the flagship of the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group and its air wing, Carrier Air Wing 9, will conduct a dual-carrier exercise with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group. This marks the first time the Stennis and Eisenhower strike groups have operated together in a joint exercise while deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

“This exercise demonstrates the importance of both strike groups’ ability to plan and conduct dual task force operations as part of the U.S. long-standing commitment to maintaining maritime security and stability in this region,” officials said.

Two air wings from the aircraft carriers will conduct air warfare exercises, while the surface components will conduct exercises in three general disciplines: anti-submarine, anti-surface and mine warfare.

John C. Stennis left its homeport of Bremerton, Wash., on Jan. 16 for deployment and began operating alongside coalition maritime forces in the region Feb. 19. After arriving, the strike group began conducting maritime security operations and providing direct support to coalition ground forces participating in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. During the 33 days of operations over Afghanistan, Carrier Air Wing 9 provided close-air support and reconnaissance to International Security Assistance Force troops on the ground.

Maritime security operations help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement counterterrorism 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, officials said.

The Carrier Air Wing 9 squadrons include the “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron 154, “Blue Diamonds” of Strike Fighter Squadron 146, “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron 147, “Death Rattlers” of Marine Strike Fighter Squadron 323, “Yellowjackets” of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 138, “Golden Hawks” of Carrier Early Warning Squadron 112, “Topcats” of Sea Control Squadron 31, “Eightballers” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 8, and “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30.

The John C. Stennis Strike Group includes John C. Stennis, Carrier Air Wing 9, Destroyer Squadron 21, USS Antietam, the guided-missile destroyers USS O’Kane and USS Preble, and the fast combat-support ship USNS Bridge. More than 6,500 sailors and Marines are assigned to the strike group.

(From a USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs news release.)

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USS John C. Stennis Strike Group
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command

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