Friday, September 06, 2013

The Navy Carrier Strike Group: Epitomizing the CNO's Tenets

ARABIAN SEA (Aug. 27, 2013) An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the Swordsmen of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as a second Super Hornet waits to launch. Harry S. Truman, the flagship for the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, is deployed supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Laura Hoover/Released)
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Benjamin Malvezzi   
ARABIAN SEA (NNS) -- U.S. carrier strike groups (CSG) continue to be a primary representation of Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert's key tenets when he released his Navigation Plan for the Navy for 2014 to 2018 the week of Aug. 16.

The CNO's three tenets - "Warfighting First," "Be Ready" and "Operate Forward" - originated from his Sailing Directions, which provide the overall vision to guide the Navy.

According to Greenert, "Warfighting First" means that "our first consideration is the ability to fight and win today, while building the ability to win tomorrow: it is why we have a Navy."

CSGs are formed and disestablished on an as-needed basis to support our nation's warfighting ability. They are composed of a variety of platforms capable of performing various missions.

Strike groups are generally made up of one aircraft carrier with an embarked carrier air wing (CVW), which usually encompasses nine squadrons comprised of approximately 65 aircraft. The aircraft carrier serves not only as a flagship, but also maintains, arms, launches and recovers aircraft, enabling them to provide combat air support to warfighters ashore, perform search and rescue missions, make early warning detections, assist in vertical-at-sea-replenishments, guard ships and combat targets on land, in the air, at sea and also provide anti-submarine capabilities.

Also included is at least one Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, which supports the CSG with multi-mission capabilities. Cruisers are proficient in air warfare, surface warfare, undersea warfare and naval surface fire support.

A destroyer squadron consisting of at least two Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers and/or Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigates plays a key role in providing anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HST CSG), consisting of more than 5,000 Sailors and Marines, is a cohesive, ready force that is certified to operate effectively and safely to accomplish all assigned missions.

HST CSG consists of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) along with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 and its squadrons: Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32 "Swordsmen"; VFA-37 "Ragin' Bulls"; and VFA-105 "Gunslingers"; Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 312 "Checkerboards"; Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 126 "Seahawks"; Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130 "Zappers"; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7 "Dusty Dogs"; Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74 "Swamp Foxes"; the embarked staffs of Carrier Strike Group 10 and 1st Combined Destroyer Squadron; guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Gettysburg (CG 64); and guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and USS Mason (DDG 87).

CNO's second tenet, "Be Ready," means to "harness the teamwork, talent and imagination of our diverse force to be ready to fight and responsibly employ our resources."

These resources that comprise the HST CSG started visibly forming shortly after Harry S. Truman's completion of its 17-month long docking planned incremental availability in July 2012. In October 2012, CVW-3 embarked aboard Harry S. Truman for the first time in two years to complete a 24-day reintegration period underway. A few months later in January 2013, HST CSG completed a composite training unit exercise designed to certify the strike group as a deployment-ready fighting force. HST CSG further sharpened its warfighting proficiencies through a sustainment exercise in June. Lastly, elements of the strike group participated in Fleet Synthetic Training-Joint, which was a simulated exercise facilitating U.S. and coalition forces' ability to work together and prepare for theater operations.

Months of preparation culminated with the HST CSG deploying July 22 and exemplified the CNO's third and final tenet - "Operate Forward."

HST CSG is operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility as our nation's "away team," forward deployed and ready to respond where it matters, when it matters. From maritime security operations to theater security cooperation, our nation has a reliable force that can go to the fight, deter aggression and win.

This is why we're here. This is what it's all about. Although we're still in the early stage s of our deployment - just slightly more than a month - we can look forward to plenty of challenges as well as opportunities. Nonetheless, whatever comes our way, the men and women of HST CSG will remain ready and be at the front line of our nation's efforts.