December 13, 2018 – The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) commenced integrated operations in the Arabian Sea, Dec. 12.
While steaming, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Essex (LHD 2) are supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, providing armed support to deny terror safe haven in Afghanistan and enable the Afghan Security Forces to set conditions for a political solution.
“Carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups are inherently flexible maneuver forces, and these high-end integrated operations illustrate our commitment to the Central Region and demonstrate our ability to deliver naval combat power at a time and place of our choosing,” said Vice Admiral Jim Malloy, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. 5th Fleet (C5F).
Along with demonstrating their unique and maneuverable combat power by highlighting their carrier air wing and air combat element, the John C. Stennis and the Essex will conduct an in-flight refueling of an F-35 Lightning II from an F/A-18F Super Hornet, and cross-deck training with various departments to include deck, supply, intelligence, media, and medical.
For this operational period, the John C. Stennis CSG has USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), USS Decatur (DDG 73) and USS Mitscher (DDG 57) participating. The Essex ARG will have USS Essex (LHD 2) participating.
U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.