Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) completed a series of tactical air defense exercises (ADEX) with the Italian Navy Orizzonte-class destroyer ITS Caio Duilio (D 554) in the Adriatic Sea, Sept. 16, 2022.

Leyte Gulf joined with Italian allies to assume tactical control of F/A-18F Super Hornets attached to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, embarked aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).

“The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group has created tremendous opportunity for our watch standers to increase proficiency, as well as our partners,” said Capt. Michael Weeldreyer, commanding officer of Leyte Gulf. “Exercises like this ADEX are crucial in maintaining our ability to seamlessly integrate with our regional partner and allies.”

Air-intercept controllers from both Leyte Gulf and Caio Duilio practiced gaining control of embarked aircraft during a series of tactical flyovers.

“This event was a great opportunity to demonstrate the war-fighting capabilities that our Italian partners bring to the NATO alliance,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mike Dennison, air warfare officer aboard Leyte Gulf. “They demonstrated flawless integration during a challenging event executed on short notice.”

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) is the flagship of CSG-10 and the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group. CSG-10 is comprised of George H.W. Bush, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26, the Information Warfare Commander, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55).

The ships of DESRON 26 within CSG-10 are USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Truxtun (DDG 103), and USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119).

The squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 embarked aboard George H.W. Bush are the “Sidewinders” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86, the “Jolly Rogers” (VFA) 103, “Nighthawks” of VFA-136, the “Pukin Dogs” of VFA-143, the “Bluetails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, the “Patriots” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, the “Nightdippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5, and the “Grandmasters” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46.

The GHWBCSG is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied, and partner interests.