March Madness — Navy style


Global force

March was a busy month for the Global Force for Good. You’ve likely heard about the commissionings, the pummeling of pirates and all the other good tidbits. Here are a few highlights that may have slipped under your radar:

The carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower launched nearly 620 combat sorties and flew more than 3,600 cumulative hours from the North Arabian Sea supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Nearly three dozen nuggets gave a collective sigh as the carrier John C. Stennis began the journey home to Bremerton, Wash., after 21 days at sea in support of fleet replacement squadron carrier qualifications. Stennis embarked five squadrons and qualified 34 new pilots who completed 641 arrested gear landings. You can read about it here.

Stennis’ crew also did 1,300 lifts in two days to offload the ship’s 2.5 million pounds of ammunition.

The 14-year-old carrier has been “the workhorse for the aircraft carrier Navy” because other Pacific carriers not deployed are either working up to deploy or in maintenance availability, said Capt. Joseph Kuzmick, the ship’s skipper. As a result, Stennis has completed 3,100 arrested landings and qualified 115 naval aviators its last deployment. Stennis has been out twice since 2007, including a 2009 deployment.

The destroyer McFaul rescued 30 Somali men, women and children off the Somali coast while on routine patrol in support of counterpiracy operations. The Somali’s vessel had suffered engine failure in both outboard motors, leaving them with no food and very little water for nearly four days. The ship on April 5 captured 10 suspected pirates and rescued eight crew members from a commandeered cargo dhow near Salalah, Oman. You can read about it here.

During its accelerated deployment in Southern Command’s area of responsibility, the littoral combat ship Freedom conducted three drug seizures and recovered three tons of cocaine.

Under the surface, the guided-missile sub Ohio trained with the Royal Australian Navy submarine and special operations forces in Stirling, Australia.

Continuing in the theme of joint training, the frigate John L Hall completed a deployment to the Black Sea. During deployment, Sailors trained with the Georgian Coast Guard in damage control; search and rescue; and visit, board, search and seizure tactics.

And the dock landing ship Gunston Hall conducted an Africa Partnership Station mission to the Gulf of Guinea and trained maritime forces from Nigeria, Ghana, and Sao Tome and Principe in small boat operations; maritime domain awareness; fisheries management; and visit, board, search and seizure tactics. The flagship for APS West arrived in Dakar, Senegal, on April 6, for the start of the second and final phase of the ship’s deployment. You can read about it here.

The destroyer Shoup showed it could hit it and get it, completing a Naval Surface Fire Support exercise in less than two hours.

Said Lt. Paul Willis, Shoup’s weapons officer:

On two hours notice, we came to 25 knots and arrived to put ordnance on target, on time. It validated our ability to support troops ashore under real-world conditions.” 

And let’s not forget our friends aboard the Military Sealift Command oceanographic survey ship Henson participated in Oceanographic-Southern Partnership Station (O-SPS) 2010 with the Brazilian and Columbian navies. O-SPS is an exercise focused on oceanography and hydrography that aims to generate positive, long-lasting strategic relationships with partner navies. You can read about it here.

Bravo Zulu to each crew!


About Author

A Navy brat who spent eight years in the Marines (two years aboard the carrier Independence). Worked in journalism in Eastern North Carolina through the latter part of the 90s, then became editor of Air Force Times in 2000. Stayed there five years, then took a break to finish some school. Now back in the game with Navy Times.

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