USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- The USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Carrier Strike Group (JCSSG) entered the Guam Operating Area (GOA) Feb. 4, and will conduct several days of exercises while in the region.
Led by Rear Adm. Kevin Quinn, JCSSG is conducting flight and Integrated Strike Group (ISG) operations in order to hone their skills prior to the strike group's scheduled arrival in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
While operating off the coast of Guam, JCSSG will maximize training opportunities and focus most on those skill sets and scenarios that prepare the Strike Group for 5th Fleet operations such as maritime security operations (MSO) and flight operations.
"We're excited about operating in GOA. It gives us an over-land opportunity and allows us to get into a rhythm," said Commander, Carrier Air Wing 9 (CVW-9), Capt. Sterling Gilliam. "We'll fly several days in a row and leave Guam both current and proficient."
Gilliam noted that while operating over Guam, CVW-9 will exercise intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance missions as well as conducting urban close-air support training.
"The next over-land flying could be operational in nature," said Gilliam. "This is the last opportunity to conduct over-land strike training before we arrive in the U.S. Central Command AOR. We're practicing the same skills we practiced during the entire workup schedule so that we arrive in theatre fully combat ready."
Since the beginning of 2006, JCSSG has completed multiple training events, qualifications and inspections, leading up to certification as a combat-ready strike group.
JCSSG is operating off the coast of Guam after entering the U.S. 7th Fleet's AOR Jan. 31, as part of a deployment to promote peace, regional cooperation and stability.
Stennis and its Strike Group are headed west to provide support for U.S. and coalition forces operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet and will support Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, be prepared to take part in Horn of Africa operations, and conduct MSO. Coalition forces conduct MSO under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that all commercial shipping can operate freely while transiting the region.
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