Vinson leaves Middle East as long deployment draws to close
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 20, 2015
MANAMA, Bahrain — The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group has left the Middle East after six months of supporting combat operations in Iraq and Syria.
The carrier conducted 2,383 combat missions and dropped 869 precision-guided munitions totaling more than half a million pounds of ordnance, the U.S. Navy said in a statement.
The Vinson Strike Group, with roughly 6,200 sailors, moved Thursday into the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations en route to its San Diego homeport, nearing the end to a lengthy deployment that started Aug. 22.
Along with the carrier, the group includes the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill and the guided-missile destroyers USS Gridley, USS Sterett and USS Dewey.
The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, consisting of five ships and more than 6,000 sailors and Marines, has now taken the helm in the region, where it will also partake in the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, and conduct theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, officials said.
The group left the U.S. in March for an anticipated eight-month deployment.
Flight deck crews aboard the USS Carl Vinson in the Persian Gulf launch a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet in support of combat operations against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria, Nov. 27, 2014. The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group has departed the Middle East after six months supporting combat operations in Iraq and Syria.
HENDRICK SIMOES/STARS AND STRIPES