June 4, 2020 – Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite announced Thursday the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) will return to homeport by mid-June. He made the announcement at sea, while visiting the crew and embarked Carrier Air Wing 1 aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).
This visit marks Braithwaite’s first official trip since taking the oath of office as the secretary of the Navy May 29.
“The [chief of naval operations] and I are beyond proud of everything you have done, for you to continue to be out here ever vigilant and ever prepared,” said Braithwaite. “I know what it’s like to be deployed away from the ones you love. I want you to all know how much that means to not only people like me in leadership roles, but more importantly, people in America. You are the tip of the spear.
“You’ve done your duty, and now it’s time to come home,” he added.
The HSTCSG, comprising flagship Truman, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), and USS Farragut (DDG 99), has been extended multiple times, with some of the ships on month nine of their deployment.
While aboard Truman, Braithwaite toured the ship, observed flight operations, spoke with Sailors of all ranks, and addressed part of the crew in the ship’s hangar bay. During his address, Braithwaite announced his awarding of the Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon to all members of the strike group.
“This entire strike group deserves to be recognized,” said Braithwaite. “For the rest of your service and the rest of your lives, you can look down at your service ribbons and remember this deployment for its distinct contribution to our national security.”
In addition to visiting the carrier, Braithwaite met with Sailors aboard Normandy and thanked them for their inherent flexibility, remaining ready to respond to emergent tasking around the globe, and for supporting CSG operations with partners and allies.
The HSTCSG will return home following a successful deployment supporting maritime security and stability in the U.S. 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Fleet areas of operation. The ships had remained at sea in the Western Atlantic, where it served as a certified CSG force ready for any tasking while also protecting it’s crews from the risks posed by COVID-19.
The secretary and his staff adhered to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines during these visits, when feasible. Guests were previously tested for COVID-19 and passed a medical screening prior to this trip to ensure safety for the crews.