Thursday, June 11, 2009

George Washington CSG Departs Japan on First Summer Deployment

USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At Sea (NNS) -- The Carrier Strike Group centered around the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS George Washington (CVN 73), departed Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan for its first annual summer deployment June 10.

Commanded by Rear Adm. Kevin Donegan, the George Washington Carrier Strike Group with more than 5,000 Sailors, is also comprised of 7th Fleet's Forward Deployed Naval Forces veterans: Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5; Destroyer Squadron 15 and the guided-missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Cowpens (CG 63).

George Washington, commanded by Capt. David A. Lausman, replaced the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) last September as the flagship for the permanently forward deployed carrier strike group.

"This deployment is the culmination of a tremendous team effort that first executed the historic transition to Yokosuka, and then flawlessly completed the four-month selective restricted availability," said Lausman.

George Washington Carrier Strike Group has been underway for most of the past month, completing sea trials, carrier qualifications, and a Combat Operations Efficiency evaluation with embarked CVW 5 following the conclusion of the George Washington's first Japan-based Selective Restricted Availability earlier this year.

The ship and crew returned to its forward-deployed port of Yokosuka June 5 for a few days of rest after a 17-day at-sea period, and are now operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

"Our main focus for this deployment is enhancing stability throughout the region by our underway presence," said Lausman. "The cornerstone of this is the CNO's [chief of naval operations] Global Maritime Partnerships; throughout this deployment we have the unique opportunity to work closely with many of our Pacific Rim coalition partners where we will put this theory into practice."

CVW 5, commanded by Capt. Michael S. White, includes four F/A-18 Strike Fighter squadrons (VFA): the "Royal Maces" of VFA-27, the "Diamondbacks of VFA-102, the "Golden Dragons" of VFA-192 and the "Dambusters" of VFA-195. It also features Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115 "Liberty Bells," Carrier Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 136 "Gauntlets," Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron (HS) 14 "Chargers," as well as detachments from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 "Providers" and Light Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HSL) 51 "Warlords."