NORFOLK (NNS) -- Nearly 5,800 Sailors from the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group departed their homeports Feb. 21 for a regularly scheduled deployment in support of ongoing, worldwide operations.
Commanded by Rear Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 8, the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group also includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7; the staff of Commander, Destroyer Squadron 28 with its assigned ships USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) and USS Halyburton (FFG 40); the fast attack submarine USS Scranton (SSN 576); and the Mayport, Florida-based ships USS Vicksburg (CG 69) and USS Gettysburg (CG 64).
While on deployment, the strike group is prepared to support Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, as well as conduct maritime security operations.
"We operate on the broad reaches of the seas to ensure that legitimate maritime traffic is able to operate and assure the free flow of commerce that all our economies depend upon," said Tidd.
The strike group completed a series of training exercises during its five-month, work-up cycle in preparation for deployment. The complex live and simulated training events crossed multiple warfare areas, testing carrier air wing and ship integration, communications systems, and use of national and coalition procedures.
After the series of scenarios at sea, the strike group participated in a four-day Fleet Synthetic Training-Joint Exercise (FST-J) which concluded on Feb. 5. FST-J is a synthetic exercise linking shipboard and land-based military units around the world in maritime security operations. The synthetic nature of the exercise helps maximize the Navy's live-training capabilities while also increasing participation from U.S. Navy assets not at sea and participation of allies and partners. Participants during CCSG 8's FST-J included the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), U.S. Air Force assets, shore-based U.S. Navy squadrons, and Sailors and naval units from France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
CCSG 8's diverse training opportunities enhanced the preparedness of the strike group to operate safely as a team and to work effectively with coalition partners.
"I am tremendously proud of the job that the men and women of the Eisenhower Strike Group are doing," said Tidd. "The training that we've received is the most realistic training that I've seen in my 30 years of naval service."
Commander, Carrier Strike Group 8 last deployed as the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group from October 2006 to May 2007.
For more news from Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn69 .