ABOARD USS JOHN C. STENNIS (NNS) -- USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) pulled into the port of Fremantle, Australia, Sept. 28.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier's personnel are scheduled to spend the next several days seeing the sights of southwestern Australia and enjoying the local hospitality.
"The officers, men and women of USS John C. Stennis are excited about the opportunity to visit the greater Perth/Fremantle area," said Capt. David Buss, Stennis' commanding officer. "For many in our crew, including myself, this marks our first visit to Australia."
Buss said the ship is due for a break from its hectic deployment schedule.
"I would describe our port call in Western Australia as the highlight of our deployment thus far, and a much-anticipated chance to see a land famous for warm hospitality and world-class recreational opportunities," said Buss.
The crew of Stennis has spent four months on deployment as part of the Navy's new Fleet Response Plan (FRP). FRP is about new ways of operating, training, deploying and maintaining the fleet. The result is increased force readiness and the ability to provide significant combat power anywhere in the world on short notice.
Countless flight hours have been logged and several exercises have been completed to get the ship to this point, including joint service operation Northern Edge '04 off the coast of Alaska, multinational Rim of the Pacific '04 exercise off of Hawaii, and a Joint Air and Sea Exercise with the carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) off of the coast of Japan.
"As far as our deployment goes thus far, I could not be more pleased," said Buss. "Operationally, we remain flexible at sea, executing each task given to us with precision. As ambassadors ashore, we have represented our nation and our Navy with pride during port visits in Canada, Japan, Malaysia and now Australia. As brothers-in-arms, we watch out for each other, and take care of our shipmates and families back home."
Stennis and its strike group have set the standard for not only the Navy's new Fleet Response Plan, but as ambassadors of the U.S. Navy, said Buss.
"There is no doubt that Stennis has set the bar for future deployments to the Western Pacific, and that we have made progress for continued port visits and presence in the region."
The visit to Perth is not only an important one in terms of liberty for the crew, but as a show of friendship between two allied nations.
"Our alliance with Australia, forged in peace and war, is as remarkable as it is steadfast," said Rear Adm. Patrick Walsh, commander, Carrier Strike Group 7. "The cooperation we share, and the desire for peace and stability that we aim to achieve stretch across the decades of nearly a century, through two great world wars to today's global war against terrorism."
Stennis is scheduled to return to San Diego next month prior to a homeport change next year to Bremerton, Wash.
John C. Stennis, a Nimitz-class carrier, is the flagship for the John C. Stennis Strike Group. Commands embarked on the carrier include Commander, Carrier Strike Group 7 (CCSG7); Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14; and Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21. CCSG7 directs the entire strike group's activity through CVW-14 and DESRON 21.
Stennis' strike group includes USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), USS Howard (DDG 83), USS Ford (FFG 54), USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716) and USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7).
For related news, visit the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn74.