Saturday, May 23, 2009

Eisenhower Resumes Flight Operations After a Historic Visit

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Adam Prince, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 resumed flight operations today in support of Operation Enduring Freedom after a completing a historic port visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain.

CVW-7 resumed close air-power support and reconnaissance missions supporting U.S. and to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops on the ground in Afghanistan.

"I look forward to seeing the air wing executing its primary mission and the many parts that it takes working together that make the mission possible," said Cmdr. Bryan Williams, CVW-7 operations officer. "We get daily updates on individual actions, stopping enemy fire, and protecting our troops."

CVW-7 integrates closely with multinational coalition forces to prevent and counter Taliban attacks. Carrier aircraft provide close air-power support and deliver ordnance on enemy positions designated by ground forces. In many cases, the show of presence and the sound of military aircraft overhead deter Taliban forces from carrying out attacks on coalition forces.

Since deploying, CVW-7 has flown 3,370 sorties accumulating nearly 10,500 flight hours. Since arriving in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, CVW-7 has flown 6,750 hours in support of coalition forces operating on the ground in Afghanistan.

While in port, the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group hosted the King of Bahrain, His Majesty the King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa; the United States Ambassador to Bahrain J. Adam Ereli; Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, as well as other dignitaries and guests.

During the four-day port visit, Sailors participated in community relations (COMREL) projects and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) events.

"COMRELs during deployment enhance the Navy's relationship with the host nation," said Chief Petty Officer Michael W. Music, who organized the project at the Ali Primary School in Bahrain.

The last carrier to moor pier side in Bahrain was the 11,373-ton Commencement Bay-class escort aircraft carrier USS Rendova (CVE 114) in 1948. During her stay in Bahrain, Rendova hosted the current king's grandfather Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, Emir of Bahrain.

Visits by U.S. Navy ships symbolize the continued friendship and partnership between countries and military services, increasing cooperative engagement and exemplifying commitment to building trust and confidence among friends worldwide.

The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations as part of a regularly scheduled deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom as well as maritime security operations. Operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet are focused on reassuring regional partners of the United States' commitment to security, which promotes stability and global prosperity.