ABOARD USS ENTERPRISE, At. Sea (NNS) -- On Oct. 7, aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 stationed aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65) participated in their second heaviest day of close air support in the skies over Afghanistan since they began operations in there early September. Enterprise with its embarked air wing is currently located in the Northern Arabian Sea.
F/A-18F Super Hornets from the "Checkmates" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 211, based in Virginia Beach, Va., F/A-18C Hornets from the "Sidewinders" of VFA-86, based in Beaufort, S.C., and F/A-18C Hornets from the "Knighthawks" of VFA-136 participated in the strikes near Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Eight Guided Bomb Unit (GBU) 12 weapons were expended in the attacks during the 36th day of support operations, Saturday, against Taliban extremist positions near Kandahar. The GBU-12 is a general-purpose, laser-guided 500-pound air-to-ground bomb.
In the 17 days since their heaviest day of close air support to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops and other coalition forces Sept. 20, the Enterprise-based aircraft have flown nearly 200 close air support missions against Taliban extremists near Kandahar, Afghanistan, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
Since Sept. 20, the Navy fighter/attack aircraft have completed multiple strafing runs against Taliban extremists using the aircraft's M61A1 20 mm. gatling gun. The carrier-based aircraft also expended nearly 30 GBU-12 air-to-ground bombs in attacks against offensive Taliban positions near Kandahar.
"Our mission is to protect the coalition ground forces in Afghanistan," said Capt. Mark Wralstad, commander, CVW-1. "As ISAF continues to pressurize Taliban elements in Afghanistan, our aircraft will continue to provide substantial air cover and strike power in support of their mission."
Enterprise-based aircraft began their support missions for OEF Sept. 3. Since that time, they have focused their efforts on protecting ISAF and coalition ground forces near Kandahar and have flown more than 450 sorties and delivered more than 100 precision weapons against Taliban extremists in support of Operations Medusa and Mountain Fury.
Other squadrons of CVW-1 include the "Thunderbolts" of Marine Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 251, the "Screwtops" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW)123, the "Rooks" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137, the "Maulers" of Sea Control Squadron (VS) 32, the "Rawhides" of Carrier Logistics Support (VRC) 40 and the "Dragonslayers" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 11.
Enterprise is the flagship in the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, which includes the cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), destroyer USS McFaul (DDG 74), frigate USS Nicholas (FFG 47), all based in Norfolk, Va., the attack submarine USS Alexandria (SSN 757), homeported in Groton, Conn., and the fast-combat supply ship USNS Supply (T-AOE-6), homeported in Earle, N.J.
The nuclear-powered Enterprise and embarked CVW-1 departed Naval Station Norfolk May 2 for a regularly scheduled six-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
For related news, visit the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Web site at www.enterprise.navy.mil.
For related news, visit the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn65/.