USS NIMITZ, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 began conducting missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) May 11.
CVW-11 will provide close airpower support and reconnaissance to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops on the ground in Afghanistan. ISAF comprises more than 35,000 troops, with contributions from 37 nations.
Carrier-based aircraft provide close airpower support and deliver ordnance on enemy positions designated by ground forces.
The squadrons of CVW-11 include the Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14 "Tophatters," VFA-41 "Black Aces," VFA-81 "Sunliners," the Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117 "Wallbangers," Marine Corps Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 232 "Red Devils," Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 135 "Black Ravens," Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 "Providers," the Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 6 "Indians."
Commanded by Capt. Mike Manazir, Nimitz left its homeport of San Diego on April 2 for a regularly scheduled deployment. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier arrived in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Operations (AOO) May 8. Nimitz is the flagship for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11.
Nimitz CSG, commanded by Rear Adm. Terry Blake, also includes the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59); guided-missile destroyers USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Chafee (DDG 90), and USS Pinckney (DDG 91); Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 "Scorpions," HSL-37 "Easy Riders," and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 11, Det. 15.
While in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOO, the ships of the Nimitz CSG will also conduct maritime security operations (MSO).
MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other materials.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cusnc/.