San Diego, California - Sailors on Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) manned the rails today as they headed out to the Pacific Ocean for a planned overseas deployment.
Carl Vinson will be accompanied by the rest of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group as it patrols both 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.
"The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is a versatile and trained force that is ready to support the missions and needs of regional commanders," said Rear Adm. Christopher Grady, Commander, Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group.
In preparation for this deployment, Carl Vinson's first since back-to-back deployments in 2011 and 2012, the ship underwent several rigorous repair, training and qualification periods, including Planned Incremental Availability (PIA), Tailored Ship's Training Availability/Final Evaluation Problem (TSTA/FEP), Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) and a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX). Each evolution is designed to prepare and qualify the ship and her crew to support the Navy's mission abroad.
"We have worked hard to ensure that our ship and crew are prepared with all the necessary resources to be successful on this deployment," said Capt. Kent Whalen, Carl Vinson's commanding officer. "Over the past year we have put in a tremendous amount of effort to get to this point, and I am incredibly proud of all that this fantastic crew has accomplished."
Carl Vinson and the more than 5,000 sailors living aboard have been tested and deemed certified for deployment. As she takes in all lines, the Carl Vinson stands ready to defend the nation and further its interests abroad.
The strike group's deployment is scheduled for nine and a half months. The Navy is in a period of aircraft carrier operation that has seen the USS Enterprise decommissioned after 51 years of service to the nation, and the pre-commissioning carrier Gerald R. Ford not yet fully online. Navy leadership is working hard to ensure this is a temporary situation.
Carl Vinson's deployment comes in advance of the Navy's implementation of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (O-FRP), scheduled for fiscal year 2015. O-FRP is designed to provide Sailors and their families with more predictability for when they will be at sea by standardizing the length of deployments to eight months.
USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), Destroyer Squadron 1 and her ships USS Gridley (DDG 101), USS Sterett (DDG 104), and USS Dewey (DDG 105) will deploy with Carl Vinson as part of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group. Carrier Air Wing 17 will embark Carl Vinson with her aviation squadrons that include the "Fighting Redcocks" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, the "Sunliners" of VFA 81, the "Stingers" of VFA 113, the "Mighty Shrikes" of VFA 94, the "Cougars" of Electronic Attack Squadron 139, the "Sun Kings" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 116, the "Red Lions" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15, the "Battlecats" of Helicopter Sea Maritime Strike Squadron 73, and Fleet Logistic Support Squadron 30. Elements of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3 will also embark USS Carl Vinson.