Top Stories 2021: COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect the Navy’s functioning, even as vaccines were rolled out to the fleet. The past year brought ebbs and flows in terms of the number of cases with peaks brought by the Delta and Omicron variants of SARS-CoV-2. As of Dec. 22, the Navy has seen a total of 90,469 […]

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Omar Bowen, left, assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Unit Bahrain, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Lt. j.g. Kory Hill, anti-terrorism officer aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD-22), in Manama, Bahrain on Feb. 26, 2021. US Navy Photo

The COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect the Navy’s functioning, even as vaccines were rolled out to the fleet. The past year brought ebbs and flows in terms of the number of cases with peaks brought by the Delta and Omicron variants of SARS-CoV-2.

As of Dec. 22, the Navy has seen a total of 90,469 cases of COVID-19 and a total of 181 deaths, including active-duty, civilians and reservists. In 2021, the Navy lost 15 sailors to COVID-19, with the most recent death on Dec. 18.

Vaccine Mandate

Steady sticklers with Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton began a Shot Exercise to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to all unvaccinated active duty personnel assigned to commands in the nation’s third largest fleet concentration area of Puget Sound, Aug. 31, 2021. US Navy Photo

The COVID-19 vaccination mandate for the Department of Defense was the biggest military story of the pandemic. All branches of the military required personnel — active-duty and reservists — to be vaccinated, although service each had its own deadlines.

Civilians who were employed by the Department of Defense and contractors also saw vaccination requirements, although they were laxer and allowed for testing regimens rather than vaccination.

The Navy set Nov. 28 as the deadline for active-duty sailors to be fully vaccinated, which meant being two weeks post the last shot — the second of the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or only shot of the one-dose Johnson and Johnson.

Reservists had until Dec. 28 to be fully vaccinated.

As of Dec. 22, 5,361 active-duty sailors remained unvaccinated, although that does include sailors who were not yet fully vaccinated but were in the process of being vaccinated, USNI News previously reported. The number also includes sailors who have exemptions or were waiting to hear if they would be granted an exemption.

The Navy received 2,844 requests for religious exemptions, but the sea service has yet to grant one, consistent with its history. The Navy had not granted a religious exemption for any vaccine in the past seven years, USNI News previously reported.

There were 140 temporary medical exemptions granted, as well as seven permanent ones. So far, there have not been any permanent medical or religious exemptions granted for reservists, according to the Navy’s most recent COVID-19 update.

The Navy has begun the process of separating those who continue to refuse to get vaccinated, USNI News previously reported. Although the Navy is trying to keep as many sailors as possible, if a sailor does not get vaccinated, they will be processed for separation.

There are some sailors who will be able to leave the service instead of being vaccinated if they are close to their retirement or discharge date.

Those who did not meet the deadline but are getting vaccinated will have their cases adjudicated by the chief of naval personnel, who is the COVID consolidated disposition authority.

The Navy began vaccinating sailors in early 2021 with the sailors of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, who received vaccines prior to deployment, USNI News reported.
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) spent 206 consecutive days at sea as a result of the pandemic in 2020.

Ship Outbreaks

USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) steams through the ocean, on Dec 16, 2021. US Navy Photo

Cases of COVID-19 broke out on multiple ships, as the Navy — and the world — struggled to contain the virus.

Three sailors tested positive for COVID-19 on USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), leading to testing for the other 900 sailors aboard. No other cases were detected, USNI News reported in February.

USS Philippine Sea (CG-58) spent nearly a month in port in Bahrain after 20 crew members tested positive at the end of February. USS San Diego (LPD-22) also pulled into port in Bahrain at the end of February, and between the two ships, approximately 40 sailors and Marines had contracted the disease.

Littoral Combat Ship USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) ended the year in port at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after sailors aboard tested positive for the disease. It is not clear what variant of SARS-CoV-2 infected the sailors, who are all fully immunized.

Lost Sailors

A sailor plays ‘Taps.’ US Navy Photo

The Navy has lost 17 sailors since the COVID-19 pandemic began in December 2019, according to a USNI News tally. A majority of sailors who died from disease-related complications did so in 2021.

The following sailors died in 2021 from COVID-19:

  • Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Abdigafar Salad Warsame, 52, died in January.
  • Navy boot camp instructor Chief Quartermaster Herbert Rojas, 59, died on Feb. 2.
    Information Systems Technician (Submarines) Second Class Petty Officer Cody Andrew-Godfredson Myers, 26, died on Feb. 4.
  • Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class Marcglenn Orcullo, 42, died on Feb. 12.
  • Chief Hull Technician Justin Huf, 39, died on Feb. 22.
  • Senior Chief Fire Controlman Michael Wilson, 45, died on April 29.
  • Capt. Corby Ropp, 48, an active-duty Navy doctor, died in July.
  • Master-at-Arms First Class Allen Hillman, 47, died on July 26.
  • Personnel Specialist First Class Debrielle Richardson, 29, died on Aug. 13
  • Marine Corps Sgt. Edmar Ismael, 27, an electrician with Support Platoon, Engineer Support Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, died on Aug. 14
  • Aviation Support Equipment Technician 2nd Class Robert McMahon, 41, died also on Aug. 14.
  • Gas Turbine System Technician (Mechanical) 1st Class Ryan Crosby, 39, died Sept. 19.
  • Master-at-Arms Senior Chief Michael Haberstumpf, 42, assigned to the Joint Special Operations Intelligence Brigade at Fort Bragg, died Oct. 10.
  • Electronics Technician First Class William Mathews, 47, died on Nov. 24.
  • Lt. Ivy Quintana-Martinez, 35, died on Dec. 18.

USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: Feb. 1, 2021

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Feb. 1, 2021, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship. Total U.S. Navy Battle […]

USNI News Graphic

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Feb. 1, 2021, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship.

Total U.S. Navy Battle Force:

297

Ships Underway

Deployed Ships Underway Non-deployed Ships Underway Total Ships Underway
49 39 88

Ships Deployed by Fleet

Fleet Forces 3rd Fleet 4th Fleet 5th Fleet 6th Fleet 7th Fleet Total
0 0 2 19 13 61 95

In Japan

Chief Culinary Specialist Anthony Scott walks through the ceremonial quarterdeck of the forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) after being pinned to chief petty officer. US Navy Photo

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is in port in Yokosuka, Japan.

Reagan, which is the service’s forward-deployed carrier, pulled into its homeport of Yokosuka on Nov. 14. Japan-based U.S. carriers typically make two shorter patrols every year, with a winter maintenance period in Yokosuka.

In the Philippine Sea

An F-35B Lightning II assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) flies over the flight deck of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6) Jan. 30, 2021. US Navy Photo

USS America (LHA-6) is underway. America has recently been operating off the coast of Okinawa – the headquarters of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) – along with Sasebo, Japan-based amphibious warships USS New Orleans (LPD-18) and USS Ashland (LSD-48).

The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is operating in the Philippine Sea, after conducting operations in the South China Sea last week.

Carrier Strike Group 9

Sailors stand in formation on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) during a chief petty officer pinning ceremony on Jan. 29, 2021. US Navy Photo

The San Diego-based CSG 9 commands the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and is embarked on the carrier.

Aircraft carrier
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), homeported in San Diego, Calif.

Carrier Air Wing 11

An F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to the ‘Blue Diamonds’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146, lands on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Jan. 28, 2021. US Navy Photo

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., is embarked aboard Theodore Roosevelt and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:

  • The “Tomcatters” of VFA-31 – Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) – from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Golden Warriors” of VFA-87 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Blue Diamonds” of VFA-146 from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Black Knights” of VFA-154 from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Gray Wolves” of VAQ-142 – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
  • The “Liberty Bells” of VAW-115 – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – from Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif.
  • The “Providers” of VRC-30 – Detachment – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
  • The “Eight Ballers” of HSC-8 – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
  • The “Wolf Pack” of HSM-75 – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.

Cruiser

  • USS Bunker Hill (CG-52), homeported in San Diego, Calif.

Destroyer Squadron 23

USNS John Ericsson (T-AO-194), front, resupplies the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG-59) and the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) during a replenishment-at-sea on Jan. 22, 2021. US Navy Photo

Destroyer Squadron 23 is based in San Diego and is embarked on the carrier.

  • USS Russell (DDG-59), homeported in San Diego, Calif.
  • USS John Finn (DDG-113), homeported in San Diego, Calif.

In the Indian Ocean

Ens. Admiral Brower, from Richmond, Va., monitors the distance between the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG-59) during a refueling-at-sea on Jan. 22, 2021. US Navy Photo

USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and the Nimitz CSG have departed the Gulf of Oman and the North Arabian Sea. The CSG is now transiting through the Indian Ocean near India. This appears to be the beginning of the Nimitz CSG’s return transit to homeports on the West Coast.

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group departed San Diego in May for a deployment to the Middle East that began in June. The strike group left the Middle East in November for a quick exercise with the Indian Navy and then returned back to U.S. 5th Fleet.

The strike group’s deployment was extended in the Middle East in the wake of threats from officials in the Iranian government on the one-year anniversary of the U.S. killing of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani. If the Nimitz CSG transits directly to the West Coast, that would put them back in homeport at the end of February.

Carrier Strike Group 11
San Diego-based CSG 11 commands the Nimitz CSG and is embarked on the carrier.

Aircraft carrier
USS Nimitz (CVN-68), homeported in Bremerton, Wash.

Carrier Air Wing 17

An E/A-18G Growler from the ‘Cougars” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 139 launches off the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) during flight operations in the north Arabian Sea on Jan. 27, 2021. US Navy Photo

Carrier Air Wing 17, based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., is embarked on Nimitz and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:

  • The “Redcocks” of VFA 22 – Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) F/A-18F Super Hornet – from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Kestrels” of VFA137 F/A-18 E from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Mighty Shrikes” of VFA 94 F/A-18F from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Death Rattlers” of VMFA-323 F/A-18C from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar San Diego, Calif.
  • The “Cougars” of VAQ-139 – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) EA-18G Growlers – from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
  • The “Sun Kings” of VAW-116 – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) E2C Hawkeye – from Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif.
  • The “Providers” of VRC-30 – Detachment – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) C-2 – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
  • The “Screamin’ Indians” of HSC-6 – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) MH-60S– from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
  • The “Battlecats” of HSM-73 – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) MH-60R – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.

Cruiser

USS Princeton (CG-59), homeported in San Diego, Calif.

Destroyer Squadron 9

Sailors prepare for a night live-fire exercise on the flight deck of the guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG-104) on Jan. 27, 2021. US Navy Photo

Destroyer Squadron 9 is based at Naval Station Everett, Wash. The DESRON commodore and staff are embarked on Nimitz.

  • USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
  • USS Sterett (DDG-104), homeported in San Diego, Calif.
  • USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114), homeported in Everett, Wash.

The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) with the 15th MEU continues to operate off Somalia albeit closer to the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden. The Makin Island ARG and 15th MEU recently provided operational and air support to Joint Task Force – Quartz and Operation Octave Quartz. Octave Quartz is the U.S. mission to reposition 700 troops from Somalia to other parts of the region. The repositioning is now complete.

The ARG includes amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD-8) and amphibious transport docks USS Somerset (LPD-25) and USS San Diego (LPD-22). The 15th MEU consists of the Command Element; the Aviation Combat Element comprised of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced); the Ground Combat Element comprised of Battalion Landing Team 1/4; and the Logistics Combat Element comprised of Combat Logistics Battalion 15. Other units include Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 49, Tactical Air Control Squadron 11, Beach Master Unit 1, and Fleet Surgical Team 1 from San Diego and Assault Craft Unit 5 from Camp Pendleton, Calif.

In the Eastern Pacific

Capt. Scott Miller uses the shipboard general announcing system to address the crew of Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) after assuming the duties and responsibilities as the ship’s commanding officer on Jan. 24, 2021. US Navy Photo

The Carl Vinson CSG and Carrier Air Wing 2 are underway in the Southern California Operating Areas. Later this year, the strike group will deploy for the first time with the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter the CMV-22B Osprey aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70).

In the Western Atlantic

Operations Specialist 2nd Class Alyssa Chavez, from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, stands watch in the tactical operations plot aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69). Jan. 28, 2021. US Navy Photo

The Dwight D. Eisenhower CSG remains underway. The carrier and its escorts are expected to complete a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) off the East Coast ahead of a second deployment – likely to the Middle East to relieve the Nimitz CSG.

Carrier Strike Group 2
Norfolk-based CSG 2 commands the Dwight D. Eisenhower CSG and is embarked on the carrier.

Aircraft carrier
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), homeported in Norfolk, Va.

Carrier Air Wing 3

Sailors repel down a rope from a a MH-60 Sea Hawk assigned to the ‘Dusty Dogs’ of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7 onto the flight deck of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG-72) on Jan. 27, 2021. US Navy Photo

Carrier Air Wing 3, based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., is embarked aboard Dwight D. Eisenhower and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:

  • The “Fighting Swordsmen” of VFA-32 – Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) – from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Gunslingers” of VFA-105 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Wildcats” of VFA-131 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Rampagers” of VFA-83 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Zappers” of VAQ-130 – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
  • The “Screwtops” of VAW-123 – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – from Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
  • The “Rawhides” of VRC-40 – Detachment – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) – from Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
  • The “Dusty Dogs” of HSC-7 – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) – from Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
  • The “Swamp Foxes” of HSM-74 – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) – from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.

Cruiser

USS Vella Gulf (CG-72), homeported in Norfolk, Va.
USS Monterey (CG-61), homeported in Norfolk, Va.

Destroyer Squadron 22

USS Laboon (DDG-58), left, and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) transit the Atlantic Ocean on Jan. 25, 2021. US Navy Photo

Destroyer Squadron 22 is based at Norfolk, and its leaders are embarked on Eisenhower.

  • USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116), homeported in Mayport, Fla.
  • USS Laboon (DDG-58), homeported in Norfolk, Va.
  • USS Mitscher (DDG-103), homeported in Norfolk, Va.
  • USS Mahan (DDG-72), homeported in Norfolk, Va.

Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Cory Woycitzky, from Tawas, Michigan, assigned to USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN-78) security department, stands watch on Ford’s flight deck as the ship transits through a snowstorm during a sea and anchor detail on Jan. 28, 2021. US Navy Photo

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) got underway on Jan. 28 for an independent steaming event (ISE) as part of its 18 months of post-delivery trials. “During ISE 15, Ford will conduct various drills and system tests as part of her post-delivery test and trials (PDT&T) and will continue carrier qualifications (CQ) for Naval Air Force Atlantic fleet replacement pilots and student naval aviators assigned to Chief of Naval Air Training,” according to the Navy.
Ford has recorded nearly 6,400 aircraft launches and recoveries with the state-of-the-art Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System and Advanced Arresting Gear, including more than 5,600 launches and recoveries since January 2020 across a total of eight ISEs.”

Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Riva Redding, from Norfolk, Virginia, assigned to USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN-78) deck department, pulls a messenger line through a chock on the ship’s fantail during a sea and anchor detail on Jan. 28, 2021. US Navy Photo

In addition to these major formations, not shown are thousands of others serving in submarines, individual surface ships, aircraft squadrons, SEALs, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Forces, Seabees, Coast Guard cutters, EOD Mobile Units, and more serving throughout the globe.

USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: Jan. 25, 2021

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Jan. 25, 2021, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship. Total U.S. Navy Battle […]

USNI News Graphic

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Jan. 25, 2021, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship.

Total U.S. Navy Battle Force:

297

Ships Underway

Deployed Ships Underway Non-deployed Ships Underway Total Ships Underway
58 33 91

Ships Deployed by Fleet

Fleet Forces 3rd Fleet 4th Fleet 5th Fleet 6th Fleet 7th Fleet Total
0 3 2 22 15 55 97

In Japan

Aviation Support Equipmentman 2nd Class Rawley Mendiola, from Vale, Or., assigned to Commander, Fleet Air Western Pacific Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Detachment Kadena, disassembles an aircraft utility crane disk brake assembly at AIMD Kadena Jan. 22, 2021. US Navy Photo

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is in port in Yokosuka, Japan.

Reagan, which is the service’s forward-deployed carrier, pulled into its homeport of Yokosuka on Nov. 14. Japan-based U.S. carriers typically make two shorter patrols every year, with a winter maintenance period in Yokosuka.

In the Philippine Sea

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Cosme Zamora, from Compton, Calif., assigned to the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6), signals an F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) on the ship’s flight deck on Jan. 21, 2021. US Navy Photo

USS America (LHA-6) is underway. America has recently been operating off the coast of Okinawa – headquarters of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) – along with Sasebo, Japan-based amphibious warships USS New Orleans (LPD-18) and USS Ashland (LSD-48).

In the South China Sea

Seaman Aaron Martinez, from Austin, Texas, handles line aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) during a replenishment-at-sea with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS John Ericsson (T-AO 194) Jan. 22, 2021. US Navy Photo

The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is operating in the South China Sea and the Philippine Sea, after being deployed to the region for the second time in a year. According to a U.S Indo-Pacific Command news release on Jan. 23, “the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) entered the South China Sea January 23 to conduct routine operations.”

“While in the South China Sea, the strike group is conducting maritime security operations, which include flight operations with fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, maritime strike exercises, and coordinated tactical training between surface and air units,” reads a statement from U.S. Pacific Fleet. Jan. 23 was the same day Taiwan defense officials reported a large incursion of Chinese bombers and fighter jets into its air defense identification zone in the vicinity of the Pratas Islands.

Carrier Strike Group 9

Oiler USNS John Ericsson (T-AO-194) resupplies the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) during a replenishment-at-sea on Jan. 22, 2021. US Navy Photo

The San Diego-based CSG 9 commands the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and is embarked on the carrier.

Aircraft carrier
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), homeported in San Diego, Calif.

Carrier Air Wing 11

An F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to the ‘Blue Diamonds’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146, lands on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) on Jan. 21, 2021. US Navy Photo

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., is embarked aboard Theodore Roosevelt and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:

  • The “Tomcatters” of VFA-31 – Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) – from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Golden Warriors” of VFA-87 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Blue Diamonds” of VFA-146 from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Black Knights” of VFA-154 from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Gray Wolves” of VAQ-142 – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
  • The “Liberty Bells” of VAW-115 – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – from Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif.
  • The “Providers” of VRC-30 – Detachment – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
  • The “Eight Ballers” of HSC-8 – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
  • The “Wolf Pack” of HSM-75 – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.

Cruiser

  • USS Bunker Hill (CG-52), homeported in San Diego, Calif.

Destroyer Squadron 23

USS John Finn (DDG-113) transits the Pacific Ocean on Jan. 21, 2021. US Navy Photo

Destroyer Squadron 23 is based in San Diego and is embarked on the carrier.

  • USS Russell (DDG-59), homeported in San Diego, Calif.
  • USS John Finn (DDG-113), homeported in San Diego, Calif.

In the Gulf of Oman

USS Princeton (CG-59) steams alongside the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) during a refueling-at-sea on Jan. 22, 2021. US Navy Photo

USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and the Nimitz CSG are operating in the Gulf of Oman.

Carrier Strike Group 11
San Diego-based CSG 11 commands the Nimitz CSG and is embarked on the carrier.

Aircraft carrier
USS Nimitz (CVN-68), homeported in Bremerton, Wash.

Carrier Air Wing 17

An F/A-18F Super Hornet, from the ‘Mighty Shrikes’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 94, launches off the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on Jan. 19, 2021. US Navy Photo

Carrier Air Wing 17, based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., is embarked on Nimitz and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:

  • The “Redcocks” of VFA 22 – Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) F/A-18F Super Hornet – from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Kestrels” of VFA137 F/A-18 E from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Mighty Shrikes” of VFA 94 F/A-18F from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Death Rattlers” of VMFA-323 F/A-18C from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar San Diego, Calif.
  • The “Cougars” of VAQ-139 – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) EA-18G Growlers – from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
  • The “Sun Kings” of VAW-116 – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) E2C Hawkeye – from Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif.
  • The “Providers” of VRC-30 – Detachment – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) C-2 – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
  • The “Screamin’ Indians” of HSC-6 – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) MH-60S– from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
  • The “Battlecats” of HSM-73 – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) MH-60R – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.

Cruiser

A Super Puma (EC-225) helicopter conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG-59) on Jan. 13, 2021. US Navy Photo

USS Princeton (CG-59), homeported in San Diego, Calif.

Destroyer Squadron 9

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG-104) transits alongside the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on Jan. 19, 2021. US Navy Photo

Destroyer Squadron 9 is based at Naval Station Everett, Wash. The DESRON commodore and staff are embarked on Nimitz.

  • USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
  • USS Sterett (DDG-104), homeported in San Diego, Calif.
  • USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114), homeported in Everett, Wash.

In the Indian Ocean

Sailors participate in a damage control drill aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD-8) on Jan. 22, 2021. US Navy Photo

The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) with the 15th MEU continues to operate off Somalia. The Makin Island ARG and 15th MEU recently provided operational and air support to Joint Task Force – Quartz and Operation Octave Quartz. Octave Quartz is the U.S. mission to reposition 700 troops from Somalia to other parts of the region. The repositioning is now complete.

USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4) also participated in the operation. Commissioned on March 7, Williams is a Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary sea base and is based in Souda Bay, Greece.

The ARG includes amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD-8) and amphibious transport docks USS Somerset (LPD-25) and USS San Diego (LPD-22). The 15th MEU consists of the Command Element; the Aviation Combat Element comprised of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced); the Ground Combat Element comprised of Battalion Landing Team 1/4; and the Logistics Combat Element comprised of Combat Logistics Battalion 15. Other units include Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 49, Tactical Air Control Squadron 11, Beach Master Unit 1, and Fleet Surgical Team 1 from San Diego and Assault Craft Unit 5 from Camp Pendleton, Calif.

In the Eastern Pacific

Chief Warrant Officer Jorge Agostini, from Ponce, Puerto Rico, directs an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the ‘Flying Eagles’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122 on the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) on Jan. 19, 2021 US Navy Photo

The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and Carrier Air Wing 2 are underway in the Southern California Operating Areas. Later this year, the strike group will deploy for the first time with the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter the CMV-22B Osprey aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70).

In the Western Atlantic

Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Josean Alviraamaro, from Jersey City, New Jersey, cleans an F/A-18F Super Hornet, attached to the ‘Fighting Swordsmen’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32, aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) on Jan. 21, 2021. US Navy Photo

The Dwight D. Eisenhower CSG is underway. The carrier and its escorts are expected to complete a composite unit training exercise (COMPTUEX) off the East Coast ahead of a second deployment – likely to the Middle East to relieve the Nimitz carrier strike group, USNI News reported.

Carrier Strike Group 2
Norfolk-based CSG 2 commands the Dwight D. Eisenhower CSG and is embarked on the carrier.

Aircraft carrier
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), homeported in Norfolk, Va.

Carrier Air Wing 3

An MH-60R Sea Hawk, attached to the ‘Swamp Foxes’ of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74, prepares to land on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) on Jan. 20 ,2021. US Navy Photo

Carrier Air Wing 3, based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., is embarked aboard Dwight D. Eisenhower and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:

  • The “Fighting Swordsmen” of VFA-32 – Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) – from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Gunslingers” of VFA-105 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Wildcats” of VFA-131 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Rampagers” of VFA-83 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Zappers” of VAQ-130 – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
  • The “Screwtops” of VAW-123 – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – from Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
  • The “Rawhides” of VRC-40 – Detachment – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) – from Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
  • The “Dusty Dogs” of HSC-7 – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) – from Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
  • The “Swamp Foxes” of HSM-74 – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) – from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.

Cruiser

Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Andrew Christiansen from Elko, Minnesota, brazes a pipe on the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG-61) on Jan. 20, 2021. US Navy Photo

USS Vella Gulf (CG-72), homeported in Norfolk, Va.
USS Monterey (CG-61), homeported in Norfolk, Va.

Destroyer Squadron 22

Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Sujan Thapamagar, stands look out watch to search for foreign vessels on the bridge of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG-72) on Jan. 22, 2021. US Navy Photo

Destroyer Squadron 22 is based at Norfolk, and its leaders are embarked on Eisenhower.

  • USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116), homeported in Mayport, Fla.
  • USS Laboon (DDG-58), homeported in Norfolk, Va.
  • USS Mitscher (DDG-103), homeported in Norfolk, Va.
  • USS Mahan (DDG-72), homeported in Norfolk, Va.

In addition to these major formations, not shown are thousands of others serving in submarines, individual surface ships, aircraft squadrons, SEALs, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Forces, Seabees, Coast Guard cutters, EOD Mobile Units, and more serving throughout the globe.

Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group Begins Second 2020 Deployment

Aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), its escorts and its embarked air wing began its second deployment in a year, the service announced on Wednesday. The deployment of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group began at the completion of a sustainment exercise that began shortly after the carrier left San Diego earlier in December. “Completing […]

USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) transits the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 18, 2020. US Navy Photo

Aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), its escorts and its embarked air wing began its second deployment in a year, the service announced on Wednesday.

The deployment of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group began at the completion of a sustainment exercise that began shortly after the carrier left San Diego earlier in December.

“Completing SUSTEX confirmed that Carrier Strike Group Nine is ready to sail west to preserve freedom of the seas, deter aggression, and if necessary, win against any competitor,” CSG 9 commander Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, Commander said in a Navy statement.
“The entire strike group team came together during a challenging time to train and ultimately prove that it is ready to answer any call.”

The strike group and the air wing have been in isolation since mid-November ahead of the deployment.

The deployment is the second for the strike group this year. Theodore Roosevelt deployed from January to July in a deployment that was marred by a COVID-19 outbreak that infected more than 1,200 of the 4,800 sailors assigned to the carrier and killed one, Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr.

The so-called double-pump deployment has highlighted how the Navy carrier’s force is under strain with too few hulls available to meet the demands of combatant commanders. Carrier operations are at their highest rate in a decade with several carriers unable to deploy currently in maintenance availabilities, USNI News reported earlier this year. On the East Coast, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group plans to deploy early next year for its own double-pump deployment.

The TR CSG is deploying with two escorts from the earlier 2020 deployment – guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (DDG-52) and guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG-59) as part of Destroyer Squadron 23. The CSG will also include the destroyer USS John Finn (DDG-113).

While the Navy has not indicated where the carrier will deploy, the small number of escorts implies that the strike group will largely stay in the Western Pacific and not relieve USS Nimitz (CVN-68) from its position operating in the Middle East, USNI News understands.

“Our sailors worked incredibly hard to make sure we set sail with a healthy, capable, and ready crew,” Capt. Eric Anduze, Theodore Roosevelt’s commanding officer, said in a statement.
“Our success is a testament to the professionalism and dedication of our team and the support of our families and loved ones.”

An E/A-18G Growler, assigned to the ‘Gray Wolves’ of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 142) is taxied to a catapult on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Dec. 17, 2020. US Navy Photo

The following is the composition of the TR CSG.

Carrier Strike Group 9
The San Diego-based CSG 9 commands the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and is embarked on the carrier.

Aircraft carrier
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), homeported in San Diego, Calif.

Carrier Air Wing 11

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., is embarked aboard Theodore Roosevelt and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:

  • The “Tomcatters” of VFA-31 – Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) – from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Golden Warriors” of VFA-87 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Blue Diamonds” of VFA-146 from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Black Knights” of VFA-154 from Naval Air Station Lemoore – Calif.
  • The “Gray Wolves” of VAQ-142 – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island – Wash.
  • The “Liberty Bells” of VAW-115 – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – from Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif.
  • The “Providers” of VRC-30 – Detachment – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
  • The “Eight Ballers” of HSC-8 – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
  • The “Wolf Pack” of HSM-75 – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.

Cruiser

  • USS Bunker Hill (CG-52), homeported in San Diego, Calif.

Destroyer Squadron 23
Destroyer Squadron 23 is based in San Diego and is embarked on the carrier.

  • USS Russell (DDG-59), homeported in San Diego, Calif.
  • USS John Finn (DDG-113), homeported in San Diego, Calif.