ABOARD USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At Sea (NNS) -- The USS George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Strike Group navigated through the Suez Canal from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea to join forces with the U.S. 5th Fleet Feb. 16.
The transit into 5th Fleet places the GW Carrier Strike Group at the tip of the spear in the global war on terrorism, and on a new level of involvement in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
While assigned to 5th Fleet, George Washington Strike Group's mission will be focused on winning the global war on terrorism by providing credible, sustainable, independent forward presence throughout 5th Fleet's area of responsibility, which encompasses 25 countries and 7.5 million square miles in Europe, Africa and Asia.
"The aircraft carrier and its air wing together are very powerful and effective tools for putting ordnance on target," said GW's Commanding Officer, Capt. Martin J. Erdossy. "Now that the major training phases are behind us, we look forward to operations and to making a difference."
George Washington Carrier Strike Group is comprised of George Washington and her embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, Destroyer Squadron 28 and Commander, Carrier Group 8 embarked staffs; guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84); guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72); USNS Supply (T-AOE 6); and HMCS Toronto, a Canadian Halifax-class patrol frigate.
In the months ahead, the strike group will participate in coalition operations to protect the United States' vital national interests, such as Maritime Interception Operations, which has proved to be a successful means to thwart terrorist efforts. Since August 2003, coalition maritime forces have confiscated more than 10,000 tons of fuel and more than $800 million in narcotics, the sale of which funds terrorist activities.
In keeping with the mission of 5th Fleet, Erdossy sees the strike group as a means of deterrence without conflict, while at the same time reassuring our allies that the United States is committed to preserving peace and stability in the region.
"Our very presence here will have a positive impact on the actions of others," Erdossy said. "We don't look forward to the prospect of bringing others harm, but our presence will help others make good decisions. Those good decisions will help us win the global war on terror."
George Washington Strike Group will operate throughout 5th Fleet's geographical boundaries, which encompass the entire Middle East, parts of Africa and Asia.
George Washington Carrier Strike Group is commanded by Rear Adm. H. Denby Starling.
For related news, visit the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cusnc.