Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ike Strike Group Departs for Deployment

Ships from Carrier Strike Group 8 transit in formation at the end of composite training unit exercise. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the flagship for Carrier Strike Group 8, is underway conducting a composite training unit exercise in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Julia A. Casper/Released)

NORFOLK, VA (NNS) -- Nearly 6,000 Sailors operating on ships and aircraft of Carrier Strike Group Eight departed June 20 for a scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations and build on maritime partnerships.

They are deploying to the 5th and 6th fleet areas of responsibilities, as part of an ongoing rotation of U.S. forces supporting maritime security operations in international waters around the globe.

"This is a flexible, agile, and ready strike group," said Rear Adm. Michael C. Manazir, CSG 8 commander. "I'm extremely proud of every Sailor in this strike group. They have contributed to the readiness so that we can meet all tasks set out for us by the fleet commanders under which we will operate. We look forward to playing a part in keeping international waterways safe and building relationships with our partners."

CSG 8's flagship, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (IKE), with the seven squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 7 embarked, departed Naval Station Norfolk, along with the guided missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109).

The Mayport, Fla.-based guided missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66) and the guided missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) left their homeport in Mayport, Fla., as well, and will join Eisenhower as the strike group transits the Atlantic Ocean.

Carrier Strike Group Eight has spent the last few months successfully completing a series of complex training events and certifications.