BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) returned to its homeport of Bremerton, Aug. 31, after a successful seven and a half month deployment.
While deployed, Stennis supported Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Iraqi Freedom (OIF), maritime operations, coalition operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO), Expeditionary Strike Force (ESF) training and recently, Exercise Valiant Shield 2007.
"The very presence of a nuclear aircraft carrier and the strike group that surrounds it, helped provide stability and security throughout the Middle East and Pacific regions," said Commander, Carrier Strike Group 3, Rear Adm. Kevin M. Quinn. "It helped to dissuade and deter potential adversaries, and at the same time, helped to assure friendly countries in that region that we have the commitment and capability to maintain stability and security throughout the maritime environment; Stennis was the focal point of that."
Stennis' Commanding Officer, Capt. Brad Johanson expressed his pride in the ship's impact on the mission while serving as the centerpiece of the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSSG).
"We are proud of what we accomplished," said Stennis' Commanding Officer, Capt. Brad Johanson. "The people I have the privilege to lead continually amaze me in their abilities and desires. I can honestly say I'm not too concerned about our future generations when we have great folks like these."
While supporting OEF and OIF from the North Arabian Sea, Stennis and embarked Carrier Air Wing 9 flew approximately 8,000 sorties providing more than 22,000 flight hours, dropped more than 160 bombs and expended more than 11,000 rounds of ammunition during 82 strafing attacks.
"Throughout this deployment, Stennis has set a new standard for the performance of carriers in a combat zone," said Johanson. "The missions we sent into Afghanistan and Iraq and the strong presence we established in the [Persian] Gulf, made a very significant difference in providing security and stability to the entire region."
Along with five months of combat operations in support of OEF and OIF, Stennis also participated in a number of exercises during its deployment, such as a unique humanitarian relief exercise in the Persian Gulf, dual-carrier exercises with USS Eisenhower (CVN 69) and ESF training in the 5th Fleet AOO with USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), while simultaneously providing close-air support to coalition ground forces.
"We got feedback from troops in combat, and we know that the operations we conducted on board John C. Stennis saved the lives of the troops on the ground," said Quinn. "Across the board, in every area, the performance of Stennis was magnificent."
After successfully completing operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOO July 11, Stennis sailed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) where Sailors and Marines enjoyed port visits in Singapore and Hong Kong and participated in more than 20 community relations projects.
"The crew performed superbly throughout the port visits," said Stennis Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Joseph Curtin. "Everyone did well; everybody had a good time and enjoyed themselves. They had a chance to rest and relax and learn about local culture."
Following the visit to Hong Kong, Stennis participated in Exercise Valiant Shield 2007 off the coast of Guam from Aug. 7-14. The joint military exercise brought together more than 30 ships including the Kitty Hawk and Nimitz Carrier Strike Groups, 280 aircraft and more than 20,000 service members from the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Valiant Shield tested the military's ability to rapidly bring together joint forces in response to any regional contingency, demonstrating the United States' commitment to ensuring peace and stability throughout the Asian-Pacific region.
With the conclusion of Valiant Shield, Stennis wrapped up the operational requirement of her 2007 deployment and sailed toward home.
"When I look back on this great adventure of ours, the thing I'm most proud of is the performance of our young Sailors and Marines," said Quinn. "They've left the comforts of their homes; they've left their families; they've gone forward into the combat zone to fight for our country, and their performance in that combat zone has been outstanding."
Stennis will soon commence its post-overseas movement standdown to give the crew some well-deserved time off before the ship begins its docked planned incremental availability later this year where it will undergo about six months of maintenance and upgrades.
For more news from USS John C. Stennis, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn74/.