NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Ships and squadrons of the USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) Carrier Strike Group (JFK CSG) will return to their respective homeports of Mayport, Fla., and Norfolk, Va., throughout early- and mid-December. JFK CSG deployed in early June in support of the global war on terrorism.
Return dates are as follows: USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) and USS Spruance (Mayport) - Dec. 7; Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 (various locations) - Dec. 12; John F. Kennedy (Mayport) - Dec. 13; and USS Seattle (Norfolk) - Dec. 14.
The return date for USS Vicksburg will be announced at a later date. USS Toledo (SSN 769) is a member of the JFK CSG, and as a matter of security, the U.S. Navy does not discuss submarine operations in advance.
"[The USS John F. Kennedy Carrier Strike Group's] men and women are testament to the bravery and skill of the American and coalition forces promoting stability in the Middle East through peacetime security cooperation, deterrence and credible crisis response," said Vice Adm. Dave Nichols, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/commander, U.S. 5th Fleet.
During its deployment, ships and aircraft from the JFK CSG safely launched 6,054 sorties in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF); rescued six Iranian mariners in the Persian Gulf just before their cargo dhow sank, and provided food and clothing and repatriated them with an Iranian vessel; and coordinated the search and recovery of the remains of a U.S. citizen adrift in a sailboat in the North Atlantic, and repatriated the remains to the United States.
Aircraft from CVW-17 embarked aboard John F. Kennedy played a key role in supporting coalition ground forces during the operations in Fallujah, Iraq, that began Nov. 7. As coalition forces swept through Fallujah clearing it of insurgents, CVW-17 joined Air Force and Marine Corps aircraft in striking key positions. During the height of operations, CVW-17 aircraft flew an average of 38 missions a day in support of ground troops.
"Our success in Fallujah as an air wing is a testament to the Sailors that work on the ship and on the flight deck," said Capt. Mark Guadagnini, commander of CVW-17. "We couldn't afford to fail. The international community and the Iraqi nation were depending on us."
Commanded by Rear Adm. B. J. McCullough, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 6, the JFK CSG is comprised of the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy, commanded by Capt. Dennis E. FitzPatrick; the Mayport, Fla.-based Destroyer Squadron 24, commanded by Capt. Anthony M Kurta, including the guided-missile cruiser Vicksburg with Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 42 Det. 8 embarked; the guided-missile destroyer Roosevelt with HSL-48, Det. 9 embarked; and the destroyer USS Spruance (DD 963) with HSL 46, Det.8 embarked.
Also included in the JFK CSG is the fast-combat support ship Seattle, homeported in Norfolk, Va.; the attack submarine Toledo, homeported in Groton, Conn.; and CVW-17, commanded by Capt. Mark D. Guadagnini, based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., embarked aboard John F. Kennedy.
For related news, visit the Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet/NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/c2f.