ARABIAN SEA (WAVY) - The most-effective collection of assets in the Navy has launched its first combat sortie on Feb. 16.
The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (ALCSG) launched the sortie in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
ALCSG is comprised of aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 and is embarked aboard the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). CVW-2 are flying missions to provide direct support to coalition forces on the ground in Afghanistan.
"Having been deployed out here twice in a year and a half, we've played a huge role in the Navy's persistent presence in the (area of responsibility) over the last couple of years," said Capt. David Silkey, commander, CVW 2. "Another trip out here is just business as usual for our guys. U.S. Navy assets have been in this region for more than 60 years, and we'll be here for decades to come, even long after the OEF mission is complete."
In addition to Abraham Lincoln and CVW 2, CSG 9 also includes the guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71), and embarked Destroyer Squadron 9, comprised of the guided-missile destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104). The CVW 2 squadrons are the Bounty Hunters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 2; the Vigilantes of VFA-151; the Kestrels of VFA-137; the Blue Blasters of VFA-34; the Sun Kings of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 116; the Lancers of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 131; the Golden Falcons of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12; the Saberhawks of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77; and the Providers of Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30.
"The strike group's surface ships and aircraft squadrons are all manned, trained and ready," said Rear Adm. Mike Shoemaker . "We've done the preparation, now it's time to get to work."
Shoemaker, Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, said the strike group is well-equipped to assume the challenges of the OEF mission.
ALCSG deployed Dec. 7, 2011 and is operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility. According to the Department of Defense, Lincoln will change homeports from Everett, Wash., to Norfolk, Va. for refueling and a 'complex overhaul.'