ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG) departed the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations (AOO), Dec. 26.
The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)(Ike), guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56), and guided-missile destroyers USS Mason (DDG 87) and USS Nitze (DDG 94) concluded missions in the Mediterranean, which included maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts, and air support to Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).
The carrier strike group primary missions were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) and theater security cooperation (TSC) efforts.
Upon arriving in the eastern Mediterranean from the Red Sea, Ike conducted dual carrier operations with the French ship Charles de Gaulle to combine their efforts in support of OIR in Iraq and Syria.
Rear Adm. Jim Malloy, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, emphasized the importance of operating alongside our allied and coalition navies.
"During our joint operations, I had the opportunity to visit the flagship of the French strike group and witness her incredible combat power firsthand as we integrated operations of our two forces, including watching French and American pilots practice landing on opposite carriers, "said Malloy. "Together, we strengthened our battle efficiency and demonstrated the power of combined international presence; delivering devastating effects from the sea to degrade and ultimately defeat Dae'sh."
The Ike CSG launched its first air strikes in support of OIR from the eastern Mediterranean Sea, June 28 to July 7, followed by air strikes from the Arabian Gulf, July 28 to Nov. 25, and concluded air strikes from the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Dec. 6-12.
"The performance of the Ike CSG has been impressive," said Malloy. "This team is combat proven and dedicated to the mission. They understand the importance of working with our coalition partners from the region and around the globe and feel a sense urgency to defeat ISIL and protect innocent lives."
The Ike CSG totaled 1,900 combat sorties for 12,315 flight hours throughout the six months of support efforts to OIR, including 215 air sorties and 995 ordnance expended while the ship was positioned in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Before departing the U.S. 6th Fleet AOO, the ships supported TSC efforts including distinguished visitor embarks and port visits. Ike hosted officials from Greece, Spain and France on board to observe U.S. aircraft carrier operations and engage with Sailors while the ship was at sea. Ike further strengthened ties with the French Navy and people by conducting training with the Charles de Gaulle and conducting a port call in Marseille, France, where Sailors were able to experience French culture. The cruisers and destroyers assigned to the CSG also visited ports in Greece, Italy, France and Ireland to enhance partnership and friendship while allowing the crew recreation and exploration of these European countries.
Capt. Dennis Velez, commanding officer of San Jacinto, explained the importance of TSC efforts as a means to strengthen partnerships and demonstrate the shared commitment to promoting safety and stability within the region.
"These engagements provide an opportunity to exchange sea stories and experiences and seek opportunities to enhance the interoperability of our countries," said Velez.
The Ike CSG is now entering the final stages of a seven-month deployment, as they cross the Atlantic to head home to conclude Ike's 15th combat deployment since the ship was commissioned in 1977.
"The Ike-Battle Axe team has worked tirelessly to support coalition efforts in the air and on the ground in Iraq and Syria," said Capt. Paul Spedero Jr, Ike's commanding officer. "Book-ending our deployment with air strikes from the eastern Med exhibits the adaptability and flexibility that the aircraft carrier brings to the fight. We are able to operate where we are needed to support the commanders. I couldn't be more proud of the work this crew has done and the sacrifices they have made while away from their loved ones especially during the holiday season."
The Ike CSG deployed on June 1 and consists of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10 staff, the staff and squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26 staff, the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), San Jacinto and USS Monterey (CG 61), and guided-missile destroyers USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), USS Mason (DDG 87) and USS Nitze (DDG 94).
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of join and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interested an security and stability in Europe and Africa.
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