Airman Adam Wickham signals an MH-60S Sea Hawk with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15 to land on the flight deck of aircraft carrier Carl Vinson. Carl Vinson left San Diego Friday for a Western Pacific deployment. (MC2 Scott Fenaroli/Navy)
About 6,200 sailors with the Carl Vinson carrier strike group departed San Diego Friday for a scheduled nine-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Central Command areas of responsibility.
It will replace the Bush carrier strike group, now in the northern Persian Gulf, which has been bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq for more than two weeks.
The Vinson, with embarked Carrier Air Wing 17, deployed with the cruiser Bunker Hill and destroyers Gridley, Sterett and Dewey.
The aviation squadrons of CVW-17 include the “Fighting Redcocks” of Strike Fighter Squadron 22, the “Sunliners” of VFA-81, the “Stingers” of VFA-113, the “Mighty Shrikes” of VFA-94, the “Cougars” of Electronic Attack Squadron 139, the “Sun Kings” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 116, the “Red Lions” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15, the “Battlecats” of Helicopter Sea Maritime Strike Squadron 73 and Fleet Logistic Support Squadron 30.
Meanwhile, the Makin Island amphibious ready group and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit is also en route to CENTCOM, where it is scheduled to replace the Bataan ARG.
The amphibious assault ship Makin Island, dock landing ship Comstock and transport dock San Diego departed Hong Kong Saturday, after a three-day port visit.