USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Ike Carrier Strike Group (CSG) entered the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) July 4, after spending the majority of a successful 2010 deployment assigned to U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.
As the Sailors focus on returning home, and on a couple of upcoming port visits in the Mediterranean, Eisenhower's Commanding Officer Capt. Dee L. Mewbourne asked that the crew take time on America's birthday to reflect on the accomplishments of a successful deployment and renew their commitment to their nation and Navy.
"As we begin the final stage of our deployment, I ask that we renew our dedication to make America proud," Mewbourne said. "We need to continue to work together and finish strong."
While in 5th Fleet AOR, the Ike team completed 112 days on station in the northern Arabian Sea, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and providing aerial support for U.S. and coalition forces on the ground in Afghanistan. Eisenhower and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 completed more than 8,400 sorties and 26,100 hours of aerial combat support to U.S. and coalition OEF war fighters during their deployment to the 5th Fleet AOR.
"Everyone on the Eisenhower-CVW 7 team contributed during our time here," said Capt. Roy Kelley, commander, CVW 7. "Our aircraft were able to support coalition forces on the ground due to the collective efforts of every member of this team. We positively influenced the ground war in Afghanistan, by professionally conducting our mission."
To celebrate the strike group's accomplishments while in 5th Fleet AOR and the Fourth of July holiday, the crew held a "Steel Beach" picnic on the flight deck July 3.
Command Master Chief Bryan Exum said the picnic was an ideal way for IKE Sailors to celebrate the national holiday and reflect on the completion of a major phase of the carrier's 2010 deployment.
Eisenhower deployed Jan. 2 from its homeport of Norfolk, Va., as part of a regularly scheduled rotation of U.S. maritime forces in the U.S. 5th Fleet and U.S. 6th Fleet AORs, in support of OEF and to conduct maritime security operations (MSO) in the region.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusnc/.