"For over a year, we have been training hard as a carrier strike group and with our air wing at sea," said Capt. Bob Roth, Harry S. Truman's commanding officer. "The first flight represents the payoff of all the hard work and is a reflection of the effectiveness of our fleet response training plan. It showcases the great capability of the carrier strike group to provide air power from the sea until the last day [troops] are on the ground [in Afghanistan]. Today's flights represent the culmination of all our training."
Marine Lt. Col. Joseph Reedy, commanding officer of the "Checkerboards" of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 312, was the first pilot to launch from Harry S. Truman in support of OEF this deployment.
"It was a great honor to be the first pilot to fly in support of OEF during this deployment," said Reedy. "I'm excited to support the Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen on the ground in Afghanistan. Our training prior to this deployment has proven invaluable to provide the necessary support so we can accomplish our mission."
In addition to training, Roth cited teamwork as a key to Team Truman and Team Battle Axe's success.
"I think our training was perfect," said Roth. "We started with the basics of operating the ship at sea as we integrated with our air wing and other surface combatants that comprise our strike group. Our biggest key to success has been teamwork. None of us can accomplish the mission alone. We are firing on all cylinders and teamwork has brought us to this point."
Roth said he is very thankful for the personal dedication of all the Sailors and Marines and also for the support of their families.
"I want to thank the Sailors and Marines on the deckplates who work the long hours to get the job done and do it willingly with a smile as they recognize the importance of our mission and sacrifice," said Roth. "I want to also thank the families back home because without their strong support, we would not be able to fully dedicate ourselves to our mission while we serve at sea."