Body of Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams Will Lie in State in U.S. Capitol

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the body of Medal of Honor recipient Herschel Woodrow “Woody” Williams will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. In making the announcement Sunday, Pelosi, (D-Calif.) and Schumer, (D-N.Y.) said the proceedings honoring Chief Warrant Officer 4 Williams will take place after […]

Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, poses for a photo before the start of a Sunset Parade at the Marine Corps War Memorial, Arlington, a., Sept. 2 2020. US Marine Corps Photo

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the body of Medal of Honor recipient Herschel Woodrow “Woody” Williams will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda.

In making the announcement Sunday, Pelosi, (D-Calif.) and Schumer, (D-N.Y.) said the proceedings honoring Chief Warrant Officer 4 Williams will take place after consulting with his family and Congress returns from the July recess.

Williams, 98, was the last surviving World War II Medal of Honor recipient. The Marine Corps veteran was awarded the nation’s highest award for his actions on Iwo Jima. He died Wednesday, June 29, surrounded by family, at the VA Medical Center in Huntington, W.Va.

Details on the arrival and departure ceremonies at the Capitol will be announced at a later date.

“When Woody lies in honor under the Capitol Dome, it will be with immense gratitude for his service that the Congress will pay tribute to this legendary hero — and all of the patriots who fought for our nation in World War II,” Pelosi said in a statement accompanying the announcement.

Official imagery from the memorial services for Chief Warrant Officer 4 Herschel Woodrow ‘Woody’ Williams, Medal of Honor recipient, held at the West Virginia State Capitol, Sunday, July 3, 2022. US Army National Guard Photo

Schumer added, ‘“This is only a small tribute to someone who has made as impactful contributions to America as Woody and all our brave soldiers who fought against tyranny and defended our country in World War II. Whether it was for his acts of bravery in combat or his tireless advocacy for all veterans and their families, Woody made our entire country, especially his fellow West Virginians, proud.”

Following his service in the retaking of Guam, Williams was one of several demolition sergeants on Iwo Jima, USNI News previously reported. In the fighting that emerged there, he became the last one left. One of Williams’ responsibilities was to take out pillboxes that were protecting Japanese airfields.

“Bazookas and that sort of thing had no effect on them, because they were so thick and well built,” Williams said in a 2017 interview for the Department of Defense. “The only way to actually eliminate the enemy inside those pillboxes was by flamethrower.”

As the only demolition sergeant left at Iwo Jima, Williams went forward with four riflemen to protect him and took out seven pillboxes. That helped to neutralize the Japanese strongholds, according to Defense Department feature story on his service.

“That made a hole big enough that [the company] could go through and get behind any other pillboxes that were in that area,” Williams told the Department of Defense. “Once you got behind the pillboxes, then we had the advantage.”

President Harry Truman presented him with the Medal of Honor.

Williams, from Quiet Dell, W.Va., served for 20 years in the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve. Following his time in uniform, he was known for his advocacy of veterans’ issues and strong support for Gold Star families.

Williams lent his name to multiple memorials, including the Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center in Huntington, West Va., where he died. A naval vessel, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4), was commissioned in 2020.

Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, Last Living WWII Medal of Honor Recipient, Dies

Hershel “Woody” Williams, a Marine Corps veteran and the last living World War II Medal of Honor recipient, died Wednesday morning at the VA Medical Center in Huntington, West Va. Williams, 98, was surrounded by his family when he died, the Marine Corps said in a news release. “On behalf of all Marines, Sgt. Maj. […]

Hershel Woodrow Williams, Retired Chief Warrant Officer Four and Medal of Honor recipient, salutes as he is introduced to the stage along with other members of the ship commissioning committee, March 7, 2020 in Norfolk, VA. U.S. Marine Corps Photo

Hershel “Woody” Williams, a Marine Corps veteran and the last living World War II Medal of Honor recipient, died Wednesday morning at the VA Medical Center in Huntington, West Va.

Williams, 98, was surrounded by his family when he died, the Marine Corps said in a news release.

“On behalf of all Marines, Sgt. Maj. Black and I are heartbroken to learn of Woody’s passing. From his actions on Iwo Jima to his lifelong service to our Gold Star Families, Woody has left an indelible mark on the legacy of our Corps,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said in the release. “As the last of America’s “Greatest Generation” to receive the Medal of Honor, we will forever carry with us the memory of his selfless dedication to those who made the ultimate sacrifice to our great Nation. The Marine Corps is fortunate to have many heroes, but there is only one Woody Williams. Semper Fidelis, Marine.”

Williams enlisted with the Marine Corps and served in the Battle of Iwo Jima, according to his website. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor on Oct. 5, 1945, for his commitment to other service members and his heroism in the battle.

“He will be remembered not only for his heroism at the Battle of Iwo Jima, but also as an American Veteran who spent his remaining years selflessly dedicating his life to his community, the Veterans Affairs, and to Gold Star families,” the Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer wrote in a statement on Facebook.

The Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary sea base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4) enters the Port of Djibouti, June 18, 2022. US Navy Photo

Williams, of Quiet Dell, West Va., trained as a demolition sergeant and was deployed three months after he enlisted, according to a Department of Defense feature about him. Williams participated in the battle to retake Guam in 1944 before getting sent to Iwo Jima.

When he arrived at Iwo Jima, he was one of several demolition sergeants, but that number dwindled down until he was the only one left. As a demolition sergeant, one of Williams’ responsibilities was to take out pillboxes that were protecting Japanese airfields.

“Bazookas and that sort of thing had no effect on them, because they were so thick and well built,” Williams said in a 2017 interview, according to DoD. “The only way to actually eliminate the enemy inside those pillboxes was by flamethrower.”

As the only demolition sergeant left at Iwo Jima, Williams went forward with four riflemen to protect him and took out seven pillboxes. That helped to neutralize the Japanese strongholds, according to the DoD feature.

“That made a hole big enough that [the company] could go through and get behind any other pillboxes that were in that area,” Williams told the Department of Defense. “Once you got behind the pillboxes, then we had the advantage.”

Former President Harry Truman awarded Williams the Medal of Honor for those actions.

Williams served for 20 years in the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps reserves, according to his foundation’s website.

After his time in the service, Williams created the Woody Williams Foundation, which builds Gold Star family memorials. There are now 103 memorials across the United States, according to the website. Another 72 are planned.

Williams lent his name to multiple memorials, including the Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center in Huntington, West Va., where he died. A naval vessel, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4), was commissioned in 2020.

African Forces Used U.S. Seabase Woody Williams to Combat Local Threats

The deployment of USS Hershel “Woody” Williams’ (ESB-4) deployment off the West Coast of Africa allowed forces from Sierra Leone, Cape Verde and Senegal to the U.S. ship as a base of operations for local missions. Using Williams allowed the forces to develop their own solutions to the maritime security problems that they faced, Capt. […]

Sailors assigned to the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB-4) lower approximately 6,000 kilograms of seized contraband into a rigid-hull inflatable boat for transport to the Cabo Verdean law enforcement authorities on April 6, 2022. US Navy Photo

The deployment of USS Hershel “Woody” Williams’ (ESB-4) deployment off the West Coast of Africa allowed forces from Sierra Leone, Cape Verde and Senegal to the U.S. ship as a base of operations for local missions.

Using Williams allowed the forces to develop their own solutions to the maritime security problems that they faced, Capt. John Tully, the director of African Engagements for U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF), and Capt. Michael Concannon, the commanding officer of Williams, said in a media call.

“Our priority when we’re working with African countries is to assist our partners in helping them develop African-led solutions to the security challenges that they face, and we’re very conscious that we do not put our partners in the position that requires them to choose between working with the United States and other external actors when determining the best way to protect their own sovereign and economic interest,” Tully said.

Maritime security operations conducted by Williams during its recent deployment were all partner-led operations, Concannon told reporters.

“We gave them a lot of support that they needed to conduct the operation but it was their operation, it was their law enforcement process that went through the determination of the scope of the problem and what to do with it, judicially, legally and we were happy to be a part of that support,” he said.

From March to April, Williams completed maritime security operations with African partners Sierra Leone, Cape Verde and Senegal. In March, the joint U.S. and African maritime team interdicted an illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing vessel operating in Sierra Leone’s Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ).

On April 1, as part of the African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership, the joint team, led by Cape Verde, worked in coordination with the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics, INTERPOL and Cape Verde’s national Maritime Operations Center to conduct a compliant boarding of a Brazilian-flagged fishing vessel, which led to the seizure of approximately 6,000 kilograms of suspected cocaine with an estimated street value of more than $350 million.

The flexibility and capabilities of Williams makes it ideal for maritime security operations in Africa, said Concannon, pointing to the ship’s ability to operate helicopters and store small craft on its mission decks. The ESB also has extensive logistic transport capabilities, personnel embarkation capabilities and endurance in conducting operations for a long period before requiring refueling.

U.S. Service members and Cabo Verdean maritime forces embarked aboard the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB-4) seized approximately 6,000 kilograms of contraband during a maritime security patrol, April 1, 2022. US Navy Photo

Concannon added that the deployment allowed representatives of three African countries to participate and collaborate with Williams and that he hoped future deployments would have a more expanded number of countries embarked on the ESB.

Williams operating in the region allows African nations to overcome the difficulty of using surface vessels to patrol their EEZs and enforce their laws, Tully said.

“By having the African partners onboard the Hershel “Woody” Williams as we did this time, we can help them overcome that challenge,” he added.

Tully said that a key aspect in assisting African partners in enforcing their laws in the maritime domain has been the bilateral law enforcement agreements that the U.S. has with African countries. These agreements allow the U.S Coast Guard to have a direct and concrete effect in the rule of law in the maritime domain of the countries that have agreements with the U.S.

Efforts supporting partners in the region span a wide gamut, ranging from various maritime security exercises and operations, the provision of equipment such as radars and automatic identification systems, supporting and assisting countries with their maritime enforcement centers, and institutional capacity building, Tully said. The initiatives are geared toward the end goal of allowing African partners to improve their capabilities and build maritime security relationships with other African countries through U.S.-supported joint engagement and exercise activities, he noted.

A pilot boat approaches the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB-4) as it pulls into port in Maputo, Mozambique on Oct. 15, 2021. US Navy Photo

Although Williams is now currently back at Rota, Spain, Tully said the U.S. Coast Guard is expected to deploy a cutter to Africa later this year and noted the ESB’s departure from the region does not mean it won’t return soon.

He acknowledged the limitations of having one ESB assigned to Africa include the ship’s inability to be everywhere at once, especially since there are regions competing with Africa, like the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean, for operations. But the deployment choice was always determined based on discussions with African partner nations.

Danish Navy Frigate Kills 4 Pirates in Gulf of Guinea Anti-Piracy Mission

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The Royal Danish Navy frigate HDMS Esbern Snare (F342) engaged pirates on Wednesday during an anti-piracy deployment in the Gulf of Guinea off West Africa, killing four pirates and capturing the remaining four. The ship was responding to reports of pirate activity and heading to the scene while sending it’s embarked […]

The Royal Danish Navy frigate HDMS Esbern Snare (F342). Danish Armed Forces Photo

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The Royal Danish Navy frigate HDMS Esbern Snare (F342) engaged pirates on Wednesday during an anti-piracy deployment in the Gulf of Guinea off West Africa, killing four pirates and capturing the remaining four.

The ship was responding to reports of pirate activity and heading to the scene while sending it’s embarked Royal Danish Air Force MH-60R helicopter in advance to observe the area, according to a Thursday news release from the Danish Armed Forces. The helicopter sighted a speedboat that afternoon with eight men on board in the vicinity of merchant ships in the area and observed that the boat was carrying a number of piracy-associated tools, including ladders.

By the evening, Esbern Snare was close enough to launch rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) carrying Danish naval special forces personnel and called on the boat to halt and permit boarding, the news release said. When the boat refused to respond to the call, warning shots were fired, with the pirates responding by firing directly at the personnel in the RHIBs. A brief firefight then ensued, in which no Danish personnel were hit but five pirates were shot, with four of them killed and one wounded. The motorboat sank after the firefight and the surviving four pirates and the bodies of the dead pirates were taken aboard the frigate, where the wounded pirate was given medical treatment. The release said that Denmark’s inter-ministerial working group will handle what will happen next to the pirates.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told a news conference that the soldiers’ intervention had “probably prevented concrete pirate attacks against vessels in the region” and that the ship had “made an important and significant contribution to security in the Gulf of Guinea.” Frederiksen was scheduled to visit the ship today during a visit to Ghana, but Danish news wire Ritzau reported that the visit has now been cancelled.

The Danish government in March announced plans to deploy a frigate to escort merchant ships and prevent pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea following calls by the Danish shipping industry to take action against pirate attacks in the region. An average of 40 Danish merchant ships sail through the area, the majority belonging to Copenhagen-based Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company.

Esbern Snare left Denmark from Naval Base Frederikshavn on Oct. 24 and arrived in the region at the start of November to begin its mission, which will last until April 2022. A total of 175 personnel are deployed on the mission, including military police, naval special forces and an expanded medical team. The mission is a national one, though the frigate will carry out capacity-building activities with several African nations in the area.

Piracy in the area has been a major concern, with local navies stepping up their operations to prevent piracy while a number of European countries, along with the United States, have deployed to the region for anti-piracy missions and to help capacity-building for nearby African nations. The United Kingdom offshore patrol vessel HMS Trent (P224) arrived in the region in early October for a three-month deployment, while France led the multilateral maritime security exercise Grand African Nemo 2021 from Nov. 2 through 7 in the Gulf of Guinea, which included 19 regional and ten international nations participating. USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4) also operated in the region from August through September for counter-piracy and capacity-building operations.

Navy Deployed USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams Near Major African Drug Trafficking Routes

The Navy is taking its sole ship assigned to U.S. Africa Command to places the service hasn’t been in almost a decade – including a key chokepoint that’s become a major opioid drug trafficking route. Following a stop in Maputo, Mozambique, Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4) moved through the Mozambique Channel late […]

A pilot boat pulls alongside the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB-4) to help the ship navigate the port in Victoria, Seychelles on Oct. 29, 2021. US Navy Photo

The Navy is taking its sole ship assigned to U.S. Africa Command to places the service hasn’t been in almost a decade – including a key chokepoint that’s become a major opioid drug trafficking route.

Following a stop in Maputo, Mozambique, Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4) moved through the Mozambique Channel late last month for the second time this year.

Williams – which first deployed to AFRICOM in July 2020 – was the first U.S. Navy ship to sail through the waters between Mozambique’s coast and Madagascar since the HSV-2 Swift transited in 2012.

In written answers to questions from USNI News, commander Capt. Chad Graham described Williams’ recent operations and port calls throughout the region as a way for the U.S. to build relationships with countries not used to a U.S. Navy presence.

“During this deployment our primary focus has been crew training and at-sea exercises with our partners. The majority of the countries we have worked with have not had a U.S. ship visit in over ten years,” Graham told USNI News. “My primary mission has been to reestablish these maritime relationships, and at-sea interoperability, through maneuvering exercises, visit board search and seizure training and communication drills.”

While Williams has operated in regions known as piracy hot spots, like the Gulf of Guinea, throughout its deployment, the recent transit through the Mozambique Channel took the ESB through waters known for illicit drug trafficking.

Capt. Chad Graham, commanding officer, USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, left, meets with Mozambican Navy leadership aboard Williams on Oct. 15, 2021. US Navy Photo

“In southeast Africa and the Mozambique Channel, drug smuggling along the Southern Route is a significant threat, as traffickers move narcotics from the Makran Coast of Iran [and] Pakistan into African countries on the southeast coast intended for local African markets and further export to Europe,” a U.S. defense official told USNI News.

According to a 2021 report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the southern route has seen “increasing quantities of opiates” that are heading to Europe and South Asia.

“The southern route includes an array of other trafficking routes running mostly south from Afghanistan. Opiates are mainly trafficked along the route via Pakistan and/ or via the Islamic Republic of Iran to India, for domestic consumption and re-export to countries in the region, and to Africa, for local markets and re-export to Europe,” the U.N. report reads. “Seizures of heroin and morphine reported by countries along the southern route (excluding Pakistan) rose from 2.7 tons in 2015 to 9.4 tons in 2019; their overall share of the global quantities of seized opiates that resulted from opium produced in Afghanistan rose from 3 percent in 2015 to 8 percent in 2019.”

In September, French guided-missile frigate FS Languedoc (D 653) conducted two separate drug seizures in the Indian Ocean that impounded thousands of kilograms of drugs valued at more than $7 million, according to a news release from the Combined Maritime Forces.

Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Tyshaun Hickson, second from right, and Seaman Apprentice Ethan J. Dowden feed line through a chock back to a tugboat aboard the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB-4) as it pulls into port in Maputo, Mozambique on Oct. 15, 2021. US Navy Photo

Warships from multiple countries operating off the coasts of Africa in recent years have served as a deterrent against actions like piracy and are part of the decrease in Somali piracy, Guy Wilson-Roberts, the head of intelligence analysis for Risk Intelligence told USNI News. But when it comes to countering drug trafficking, Wilson-Roberts noted the difficulty in tracking and observing some of the local vessels that move throughout the region.

“We know smuggling was extensive. It takes place along the coastline of countries in the region. It takes place across longer distances across the Indian Ocean into south Asia using larger vessels. And so it’s difficult to get an overall picture I think as to the volume of smuggling taking place,” Wilson-Roberts told USNI News.
“And so some of the high profile busts that take place from time to time give us a little bit of an insight into the scale of the operations,” he added. “But I think, unfortunately, like drug smuggling worldwide, the interceptions that take place are often quite significant, but are really only affecting the smuggling activity in a small way. The volume of traffic is simply too large to interdict everything.”

A pilot boat approaches the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB-4) as it pulls into port in Maputo, Mozambique on Oct. 15, 2021. US Navy Photo

The sole ship assigned to AFRICOM, Williams recently circumnavigated the continent in a deployment that included stops in at least eight countries on Africa’s coasts, according to a Navy fact sheet provided to USNI News.

Williams has also trained with both African countries like Ghana and Nigeria and other nations like Brazil during the deployment, USNI News recently reported.

“As the only ship assigned to AFRICOM, I feel it is my responsibility to improve, or in some cases establish, relationships with all of the nations that share a mutual concern for the maritime security of Africa,” Graham told USNI News. “It is a privilege to work alongside these African nations and be the physical representation of the United States’ commitment to their future security. The relationships that we have built through this deployment have set the important groundwork for future opportunities aimed at enhancing maritime security and interoperability in the region.”

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.

USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: Dec. 28, 2020

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Dec. 28, 2020, 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 Image

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Dec. 28, 2020, 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 1 50

Ships Deployed by Fleet

Fleet Forces 3rd Fleet 4th Fleet 5th Fleet 6th Fleet 7th Fleet Total
0 6 4 21 16 51 98

In Japan

CMDCM(SW/AW) Randy Bell, USS America (LHA-6) command master chief, right, presents a wreath to Master Chief Petty Officer Tatayuki Ono, CMC of JS Ise (DDH 182), during a kadomatsu exchange between the ships on Dec. 23, 2020. Kadomatsu, or ‘gate pines,’ are a Japanese New Year tradition for good luck. 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, Japan, on Nov. 14. Japan-based U.S. carriers typically make two shorter patrols every year, with a maintenance period in Yokosuka.

USS America (LHA-6) is in port in Sasebo, Japan.

In the Indian Ocean

Capt. Max Clark, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68), patches in a 1MC address from Vice President Mike Pence to sailors and Marines aboard Nimitz. US Navy Photo

USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG) are operating off the Horn of Africa, USNI News reported last week.

The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked is now in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. 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).

Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, consisting of USS Makin Island (LHD-8), USS Somerset (LPD-25), USS San Diego (LPD-22), and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit; and USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB-4) conduct maritime operations off the coast of Somalia under Joint Task Force – Quartz in support of Operation Octave Quartz (OOQ) Dec. 22, 2020. US Navy Photo

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.

Arriving Dec. 21, both the Nimitz CSG and the Makin Island ARG are in place off the coast of Somalia providing operational and close 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.

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

Carrier Strike Group 11

Electronics Technician Seaman Chris Harrison (left), from Overton, Texas, and Electronics Technician Christopher Burton (right), from Aynor, S.C., troubleshoot a satellite dish aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on Dec. 15, 2020. US Navy Photo

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-18E Super Hornet, from the ‘Kestrels’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 137, launches off of the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) to provide close-air support to Operation Octave Quartz on Dec. 28, 2020. 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

Aviation Maintenance Administrationman Robert Mudolo, from Coram, N.Y., assigned to the ‘Battlecats’ of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 73, prepares to give the pilots of an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter start up instructions during night flight operations on the flight deck of the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG-59) in the North Arabian Sea on Dec. 5. US Navy Photo

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

Destroyer Squadron 9

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 Persian Gulf

On Dec. 21, U.S. 5th Fleet announced that nuclear guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSBN-729) entered the Persian Gulf.

“SSGNs are one of the most versatile platforms in the fleet, equipped with superior communications capabilities and the ability to carry up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles. The platform can also be configured to host up to 66 Special Operations Forces,” reads the statement from U.S. 5th Fleet.

Announcing an SSGN operating in the Persian Gulf is a rare move for the service and this public disclosure is intended as a message both to Iran and U.S. regional allies, USNI News understands.

In the Eastern Pacific

USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and the Arleigh-burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG-59) transit the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 18, 2020. US Navy Photo

The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group completed its sustainment exercise (SUSTEX) and began a scheduled deployment Dec. 23. The strike group is headed west.

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

Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Arattakhan Khammany, from Abbeville, La., conducts maintenance on an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the ‘The Wolf Pack’ of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75 in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Dec. 18, 2020. 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) anchors in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 20, 2020. US Navy Photo

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

Destroyer Squadron 23

Fire Controlman 2nd Class Andrew Hood, from Knoxville, Tenn., inspects the Phalanx close-in weapons system (CIWS) aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG-59) Dec. 21, 2020. 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 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.

U.S. Aircraft Carrier, 2,500 Marines Off the Coast of Somalia as Pentagon Repositions Forces in Africa

The U.S. has moved an aircraft carrier and an Amphibious Ready Group embarked with Marines off the coast of Somalia as U.S. Africa Command has begun repositioning troops from Somalia, USNI News has learned. As of Monday, USS Nimitz (CVN-68), its escorts and the three-ship Makin Island ARG with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit have […]

A C-2A Greyhound, from the ‘Providers’ of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30, launches off the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on Dec. 9, 2020. US Navy Photo

The U.S. has moved an aircraft carrier and an Amphibious Ready Group embarked with Marines off the coast of Somalia as U.S. Africa Command has begun repositioning troops from Somalia, USNI News has learned.

As of Monday, USS Nimitz (CVN-68), its escorts and the three-ship Makin Island ARG with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit have been operating just to the east of the Horn of Africa, defense officials confirmed to USNI News. USS Makin Island (LHD-8) and amphibious transport docks USS Somerset (LPD-25) and USS San Diego (LPD-22) make up the ARG while the approximately 2,500 Marines in the MEU are embarked aboard the three ships. Additionally, Makin Island has a squadron of Marine F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters aboard. The trio left the South China Sea via the Strait of Malacca on Dec. 12 for the Indian Ocean, USNI News reported last week.

Nimitz and its strike group have been primarily operating in U.S. 5th Fleet since July, leaving to exercise with the Indian Navy in November. The carrier strike group has been part of the U.S. presence in the Middle East meant to serve as a hedge against Iran since May 2019.

Navy representatives from 5th and U.S. 6th Fleets told USNI that the ships were operating in the Middle East but did not provide additional information. U.S. Africa Command did not immediately respond to a Monday morning request for information from USNI News.

The presence of Nimitz and the Makin Island ARG follow an announcement from AFRICOM that the command had created a new joint task force to manage moving 700 U.S. troops from Somalia to other parts of the continent.

The U.S. has maintained the footprint in Somalia as a hedge against the al-Shabaab militant insurgency. The Pentagon announced the departure of the troops earlier this month on order from the Trump administration. The White House has also ordered the Defense Department to draw down troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Makin Island Amphibious Readiness Group prepares for a replenishment-at-sea on Oct. 30, 2020. US Navy Photo

“AFRICOM did say that roughly 700 troops will be repositioned to neighboring countries to carry out cross-border operations against [al-Shabaab], an al-Qaida-aligned terrorist group. While AFRICOM didn’t name the countries, Djibouti and Kenya are likely destinations given that the U.S. maintains military bases in both nations,” reported Stars and Stripes on Friday.

The U.S. plans to leave a small number of troops in Somalia.

“To be clear, the U.S. is not withdrawing or disengaging from East Africa. We remain committed to helping our African partners build a more secure future,” AFRICOM commander Gen. Stephen Townsend said in a Saturday statement.
“We also remain capable of striking al-Shabaab at the time and place of our choosing—they should not test us.”

Nimitz and the Makin Island ARG join Crete-based expeditionary sea base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams and an Air Force AC-130W Stinger II gunship in support of the troop movement.

Further north, the Navy issued a conspicuous statement and photographs of the guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN-729) entering the Persian Gulf as a message to Iran and U.S. allies, defense officials told USNI News.

Guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN-729), front, transits the Strait of Hormuz with the guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG-73). US Navy Photo

“SSGNs are one of the most versatile platforms in the fleet, equipped with superior communications capabilities and the ability to carry up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles. The platform can also be configured to host up to 66 Special Operations Forces,” reads a Monday statement from U.S. 5th Fleet.

USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: Dec. 21, 2020

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Dec. 21, 2020, 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 Dec. 21, 2020, 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
45 23 58

Ships Deployed by Fleet

Fleet Forces 3rd Fleet 4th Fleet 5th Fleet 6th Fleet 7th Fleet Total
0 1 4 20 16 53 94

In Japan

A P-8A Poseidon, assigned to the ‘Fighting Tigers’ of Patrol Squadron (VP) 8, taxis into position to standby for snow flight operations at Naval Air Facility (NAF) Misawa, Japan on Dec. 17, 2020. 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, Japan, on Nov. 14. Japan-based U.S. carriers typically make two shorter patrols every year, with a maintenance period in Yokosuka.

USS America (LHA-6) is in port in Sasebo, Japan.

In the Indian Ocean

Quartermaster 3rd Class Keilan Carter, from Martinsville, Va., inputs a deck log on the bridge of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on Dec. 14, 2020. US Navy Photo

USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group are operating off the Horn of Africa.

The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked is now in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of responsibility. There has not been an ARG in 5th Fleet since the departure of the Bataan ARG in mid-June. 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).

Both the Nimitz CSG and the Makin Island ARG are in place off the coast of Somalia during Operation Octave Quartz.

Navy Landing Craft, Air Cushions 39 and 79 assigned to Assault Craft Unit 5 return to the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD-25) during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Singaporeon Dec. 11, 2020. US Marine Corps Photo

U.S. Africa Command is overseeing the mission to reposition U.S. forces from Somalia to other areas in East Africa. Operation Octave Quartz is led by Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson and will reposition forces “in a deliberate, conditions-based manner,” U.S. Africa Command said in a statement.

USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4), which is assigned to AFRICOM, as part of the operation, reported Stars and Stripes. Commissioned on March 7, Williams is a Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary mobile base and is based in Souda Bay in Crete.

Carrier Strike Group 11

Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Teresa Conde, from San Diego, Calif., sculpts a sleigh for a Christmas cake aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on Dec. 14, 2020. US Navy Photo

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

Naval Air Crewman 1st Class Gary Penrod, from Deltona, Fla., inspects a tie-down in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on Dec. 14, 2020. 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) steams alongside the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Yukon (T-AO-202) during a replenishment-at-sea on Dec. 17, 2020. US Navy Photo

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

Destroyer Squadron 9

Sailors assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53) man the phone and distance line during a replenishment-at-sea with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Wally Schirra (T-AKE-8) in the Persian Gulf on Dec. 17, 2020. 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 Persian Gulf

Guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN-729), front, transits the Strait of Hormuz with the guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG-73). US Navy Photo

On Monday, U.S. 5th Fleet announced that nuclear guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSBN-729) entered the Persian Gulf. The modified Ohio-class transited the Strait of Hormuz with guided-missile cruisers USS Port Royal (CG-73) and USS Philippine Sea (CG-58).

“SSGNs are one of the most versatile platforms in the fleet, equipped with superior communications capabilities and the ability to carry up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles. The platform can also be configured to host up to 66 Special Operations Forces,” reads the statement from U.S. 5th Fleet.

Announcing an SSGN operating in the Persian Gulf is a rare move for the service and this public disclosure is intended as a message both to Iran and U.S. regional allies, USNI News understands.

In the Eastern Pacific

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

The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group is underway in the Southern California Operating Areas for a sustainment exercise ahead of its second deployment since January.

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

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

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), part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, transits the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 18, 2020. US Navy Photo

  • 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 Russel (DDG-59) transits the Pacific Ocean as part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group on Dec. 18, 2020. US Navy Photo

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

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.