NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Nearly 6,500 sailors assigned to the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group have deployed from Naval Station Norfolk.
The strike group is heading to the U.S. Navy’s 5th and 6th Fleet areas on its latest deployment.
“We’re trained, we’re ready, any mission, anytime, anywhere, we’re ready to go,” said Rear Admiral Gene Black, who is the Truman Carrier Strike Group Commander.
“The President can send us wherever he wants with whatever mission he’s got and we’re ready to go.”
WAVY reporter Marielena Balouris livestreamed the Truman’s departure from Pier 14 Wednesday morning.
Many friends, families and loved looked on as the carrier moved out to sea.
Petty Officer Christine Doleman said, “Being away from home, it’s a lonely experience but we’re a team. We make our own little family.”
There was also excitement on the pier.
“This is my last round on the ship, just the whole essence of it, it’s exciting to me,” said Chief Valerie King. “When you start on deployment, start off with a goal, like if you have a goal in mind, whether it’s to lose weight, to get some kind of education, to do something, come back better than how you felt.”
Navy officials say the support of the local community has helped immensely.
“Our ships don’t sail, our aircraft don’t fly, without the folks who live and work here in the Hampton Roads area,” said Captain Nicholas Dienna, Commander of the U.S.S. Truman.
Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman returned to Norfolk in early March after completing a composite training unit exercise.
“We’ve been training to fight for the whole entire year,” said Doleman. “So it’s really important that these guys keep their head on the swivel and go out there and do great things for this country.”
Navy officials said the training was designed to test the strike group’s abilities in areas including air warfare and responses to surface and substance contacts.
Several ships and squadrons are set to deploy Wednesday as a part of the strike group:
- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75)
- 9 squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1
- Guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60)
- Guided-missile destroyer Arleigh Burke (DDG 51)
- Guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84)
- Guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98)
- Guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99)
The Sachsen-class German frigate FGS Hessen (F 221) will be operating as a part of the strike group during the first half of the deployment, according to the Navy.
“A wonderful ally with a great opportunity for us to continue to work together and operate with our partners anywhere in the world,” said Admiral Black.
Guided-missile destroyers USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) and USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) are expected to join the strike group at a future.
The strike group previously deployed for 10 months from November 2015 to July 2016, as a part of Operation Inherent Resolve — an international effort to battle the Islamic State. Aircraft embarked aboard the Truman launched airstrikes against ISIL.