Third Optimized Fleet Response Plan Carrier Strike Group Returns Home

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By Rear Adm. Bruce Lindsey
Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

After completing a seven-month deployment in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations in support of maritime theater security operations and flying missions supporting Operation Inherent Resolve over the skies of Iraq and Syria, the ships and squadrons of the USS George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group returned safely home.

Thousands of friends and family members lined the piers of Naval Station Norfolk to welcome home more than 6,000 strike group Sailors! More than 300 Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 aircrew flew home to cheering, flag-waving crowds in Norfolk, Oceana, Mayport and Whidbey Island.

While deployed, CVW-8 and USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) launched 11,437 sorties, completed 1,924 combat missions. With flawless execution the aviators successfully delivered 1,717 pieces of ordnance on target with devastating lethality. By the end of the deployment, our aviators logged an amazing 30,873 flight hours and 7,868 arrested landings. These impressive numbers set post-Desert Storm records for any CVN/CVW team.

This deployment is yet another example of the pivotal role naval aviation plays in our national defense. As the U.S. Navy’s ‘Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority’ states, we have the mission to “conduct PROMPT and SUSTAINED combat power from and at sea, necessary to fight and win decisively in contested and denied environments against our enemies.” That is exactly what the men and women of CVW-8 and the strike group accomplished on deployment. The team delivered a devastating blow to the capabilities of ISIS, allowing our partners on the battlefield to employ a strategic initiative to retake large swaths of land in Northern Iraq and Syria.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 8, 2017) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) operate in formation during exercise Saxon Warrior 2017. The United States and United Kingdom co-hosted carrier strike group exercise demonstrates interoperability and capability to respond to crises and deter potential threats. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael B. Zingaro/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 8, 2017) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) operate in formation during exercise Saxon Warrior 2017. The United States and United Kingdom co-hosted carrier strike group exercise demonstrates interoperability and capability to respond to crises and deter potential threats. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael B. Zingaro/Released)

I have written several blog posts about how our carriers benefit from the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP). OFRP is designed to maximize our return on training and maintenance investments, to maintain Sailor quality of life and ensure units are fully employable and deployable. By the time the strike group deployed, it was at the peak of readiness and this was clearly demonstrated through their record-setting accomplishments.

With USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) now at Norfolk Naval Shipyard to begin her maintenance phase, the first phase of the four-part OFRP cycle, George H.W. Bush enters the post deployment portion of its sustainment phase to maintain her combat readiness in order to be prepared to deploy fully ready combat forces if required by our Nation.

While George H.W. Bush is in her sustainment phase, CVW-8 will also be in sustainment. For the air wing, this means several underway periods to maintain their carrier qualification requirements, maintain their aircraft at optimum performance levels and provide continuous training in combat flight operations and maintenance.

Meeting these standards will allow CVW-8 to effectively remain combat ready around the clock in the event the president of the United States decides they need to surge an additional carrier strike group.

This will be a challenge, but I have every confidence that the George H. W. Bush Carrier Strike Group team will not only meet but also exceed our leadership’s standards and expectations.

Finally, I send my strongest congratulations to entire carrier strike group for your tireless efforts and commitment to the Navy’s standard of excellence. Bravo Zulu, well done and welcome home!

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 18, 2017) Sailors assigned to the "Tomcatters" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 celebrate as the squadron flies over the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). The ship and its carrier strike group were transiting home from a scheduled seven-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Matlage/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 18, 2017) Sailors assigned to the “Tomcatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 celebrate as the squadron flies over the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). The ship and its carrier strike group were transiting home from a scheduled seven-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Matlage/Released)


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Third Optimized Fleet Response Plan Carrier Strike Group Returns Home

Your Navy Operating Forward – Red Sea, Korea, Guam

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Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve the American way of life. Whether it be operating and training off the coast of Spain or forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the flexibility and presence provided by our U.S. naval forces provides national leaders with great options for protecting and maintaining our national security and interests around the world. The imagery below highlights the Navy’s ability to provide those options by operating forward.

PHILIPPINE SEA: The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), foreground, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Atago-class guided-missile destroyer JS Ashigara (DDG 178), left, and the JMSDF Murasame-class destroyer JS Samidare (DD 106) transit the Philippine Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)
PHILIPPINE SEA: The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), foreground, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Atago-class guided-missile destroyer JS Ashigara (DDG 178), left, and the JMSDF Murasame-class destroyer JS Samidare (DD 106) transit the Philippine Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)
PHILIPPINE SEA: An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter from the "Blue Hawks" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78 fires chaff flares during a training exercise near the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)
PHILIPPINE SEA: An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter from the “Blue Hawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78 fires chaff flares during a training exercise near the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)
ARABIAN GULF: An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the "Tomcatters" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 prepares to land aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Matlage/Released)
ARABIAN GULF: An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Tomcatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 prepares to land aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Matlage/Released)
BUSAN, Republic of Korea: The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN 727) arrives in Busan for a scheduled port visit while conducting routine patrols throughout the western Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jermaine Ralliford/Released)
BUSAN, Republic of Korea: The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN 727) arrives in Busan for a scheduled port visit while conducting routine patrols throughout the western Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jermaine Ralliford/Released)
CARIBBEAN SEA: The Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship USS Zephyr (PC 8) transits the Caribbean Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey J. Hopkins/Released)
CARIBBEAN SEA: The Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship USS Zephyr (PC 8) transits the Caribbean Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey J. Hopkins/Released)
GUAM: A MK VI patrol boat assigned to Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1, Det. Guam, maneuvers off the coast of Guam. (U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alfred A. Coffield/Released)
GUAM: A MK VI patrol boat assigned to Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1, Det. Guam, maneuvers off the coast of Guam. (U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alfred A. Coffield/Released)
ARABIAN GULF: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the "Tridents" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 carries cargo during a vertical replenishment aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jennifer M. Kirkman/Released)
ARABIAN GULF: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the “Tridents” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 carries cargo during a vertical replenishment aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jennifer M. Kirkman/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) receives a refueling probe during a replenishment-at-sea with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) receives a refueling probe during a replenishment-at-sea with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released)
RED SEA: The guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG 103) transits the Red Sea during a photo exercise to conclude Exercise Eagle Salute 17. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyrell K. Morris/Released)
RED SEA: The guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG 103) transits the Red Sea during a photo exercise to conclude Exercise Eagle Salute 17. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyrell K. Morris/Released)

Tell us which photo best shows YOUR Navy Operating Forward !


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Your Navy Operating Forward – Red Sea, Korea, Guam

Future USS Indiana (SSN 789) Christening Ceremony

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Welcome to Navy Live blog coverage of the christening of our newest Virginia-class fast attack submarine, the future USS Indiana (SSN 789).

The ceremony is scheduled for April 29 at 11 a.m. EDT at Huntington Ingalls Shipyard in Newport News, Virginia.

Vice President Mike Pence, who previously served as the 50th governor of Indiana, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Diane Donald, wife of retired Adm. Kirkland H. Donald, director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion from 2004 to 2012, is serving as the ship’s sponsor. 

Webcast courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries

“The christening of the future USS Indiana brings this technological marvel one step closer to joining the world’s preeminent submarine force.”
– Sean Stackley, Acting Secretary of the Navy.

The official crest of the Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Indiana (SSN 789). (U.S. Navy graphic/Released)

SSN-789 is the 16th Virginia-class fast attack submarine and the sixth Virginia-class Block III submarine.

The submarine, which began construction in 2012, will be the third U.S. Navy ship to be christened with the name Indiana. The first Indiana (BB 1), the lead ship of her class of battleship, served in the North Atlantic and later participated in the blockade of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War. The second Indiana (BB 58) was a South Dakota-class battleship that earned nine battle stars for her service in the Pacific Theater in World War II. BB-58 fought in the Battle of the Philippine Sea and participated in the invasions of Tarawa, Kwajalein and Okinawa, and bombarded Saipan, the Palau Islands, the Philippines and Iwo Jima.

This next-generation attack submarine provides the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea superiority well into the 21st century.

For more information, visit Navy.mil.

Join the #USNavy conversation on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Flickr.


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Future USS Indiana (SSN 789) Christening Ceremony

Marines Learn to Survive in the Jungle

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U.S. and Philippine Marines perform jungle survival training at Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac Province, Philippines as part of Balikatan 2013. Balikatan 2013 is an annual Philippine-U.S. bilateral exercise.

Humanitarian assistance and training activities enable the Philippine and American service members to build lasting relationships, train together and provide assistance in communities where the need is the greatest. Includes soundbites from Sgt. Bimbo Busico, Force Reconnaissance Battalion, Philippine Marine Corps; and 2nd Lt. Stephen Rondone, 3rd Supply Battalion Combat Logistics Regiment 35, USMC.

To keep up to date with Balikatan, follow their Facebook page.

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Marines Learn to Survive in the Jungle