USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 departed Naval Air Station North Island July 29 for a seven-month deployment to the western Pacific Ocean and U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, which includes the Arabian Gulf, July 29.
JCSCSG will support combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq while maintaining regional stability and projecting U.S. power and influence.
"When we sail west, we will be ready for combat operations and humanitarian assistance wherever that need may arise," said Rear. Adm. Craig Faller, commander, JCSCSG. "We've worked for these missions; we are ready. It is necessary to have a strong Navy, a Navy second to none, like the U.S. Navy to ensure freedom of the seas and that's what we're going to do."
JCSCSG consists of approximately 6,500 Sailors who, in the past few months, have successfully completed training and certifications to ensure they operate safely and effectively together.
"Training exercises gave Sailors on the job training to do their job safely and efficiently so we can make it home alive," said Chief Machinist's Mate (SW/AW) Jason Turner, Engineering Auxiliaries Division leading chief petty officer.
"During training exercises I learned to stay focused, keep my bearing and have respect for others," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Apprentice Jennifer Wage. "It was only training, but one day it might not be."
For many Sailors, this will be their first deployment and they said they have no idea what to expect.
"This is my first deployment and the hardest thing was leaving my family and husband behind," said Wage.
Besides completing the mission and returning home safely, many Sailors said they are looking forward to other things.
"I'm looking forward to all the port visits. I've been to one side of the world and now I'm going to the other half," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Apprentice Chelsea Dell.
JCSCSG is prepared to respond to any operational situations during this seven-month deployment in order to protect America's interests.
"I'm proud of the Sailors and families of the strike group," said Faller. "We've trained hard, worked hard and we are focused on the mission."
JCSCSG comprises the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), CVW-9 and the ships of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21; guided missile destroyers USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Dewey (DDG 105), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91); and guided missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53).
For more news from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn74/.