USS Stennis back at work
The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis has finished a port call and is back in the North Arabian Sea, flying close-air support and reconnaissance missions for troops in Afghanistan, U.S. Navy officials said this week.
The carrier air wing aboard Stennis is assigned to “prevent and counter Taliban attacks. Carrier aircraft provide close-air power support and deliver ordnance on enemy positions designated by ground forces,” a news release states.
The Stennis and its strike group also are tasked with what the Navy calls “maritime security operations,” designed to “deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.”
The Stennis sailed from its home port of Bremerton, Wash., on Jan. 16 for a scheduled deployment, arriving in the Arabian Sea region on Feb. 19. The Navy now once again has two carrier strike groups in the region.
Carrier Air Wing 9 includes Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, VFA 146, VFA 147, Marine Strike Fighter Squadron 323, Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 138, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 112, Sea Control Squadron 31, Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 8 and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30.
The Stennis strike group includes the carrier, Destroyer Squadron 21, USS Antietam, USS O’Kane, USS Preble and the fast combat-support ship USNS Bridge.
Some 6,500 sailors and Marines are part of the strike group.