The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), flagship of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG), along with guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) and guided-missile destroyers USS Mitscher (DDG 57) and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), completed a southbound Suez Canal transit into the Red Sea, April 2.
According to a recent service news release, the IKE CSG’s transit marks the first U.S. warships to pass through the Suez Canal since it reopened on March 29.
“We appreciate the Government of Egypt and Suez Canal Authority’s efforts to ensure the safety of navigation in this critical waterway for all ships, and in allowing the IKE CSG to transit so quickly,” said Vice Adm. Samuel Paparo, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces.
While in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, the IKE CSG will operate and train alongside regional and coalition partners, and provide naval aviation support to Operation Inherent Resolve.
“Our strike group is excited to sail and fly in the conduct of our operations in the Red Sea,” said Rear Adm. Scott F. Robertson, Commander Carrier Strike Group TWO. “The importance of our regional partnerships throughout U.S. Fifth Fleet cannot be overstated and enhancing our relationship with Egypt is a continuation in fostering both trust and unity in our enduring maritime efforts.”
As an inherently flexible maneuver force, capable of supporting routine and contingency operations, the carrier’s presence demonstrates the U.S. Navy’s commitment to regional partners and maritime security.
Deploying ships and aircraft of the strike group, commanded by Rear Adm. Scott F. Robertson, include flagship USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69); the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61); Destroyer Squadron 22 ships include Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Mitscher (DDG 57), USS Laboon (DDG 58), USS Mahan (DDG 72) and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).
Squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, embarked on Eisenhower include the “Fighting Swordsmen” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32, “Gunslingers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105, “Wildcats” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131, “Rampagers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 83; “Dusty Dogs” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7; “Swamp Foxes” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74; “Screwtops” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 123; “Zappers” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130 and a detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40, the “Rawhides”.
The 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 chokepoints, critical to the free flow of global commerce.