161 Underway

While the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) recently made headlines with their extended 56,000 nautical mile-deployment where it was safe(er) from COVID-19, and only returned home after the eponymous Nimitz-class carrier and her primary cruiser escort, USS Normandy (CG 60), away from their homeports for over 270 days– nine months– it should be pointed that not all of that was spent underway.

From Carrier Group TEN:

As of June 25, 2020, the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) and its escort ship, the guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56), have been continuously at sea for 161 days, setting a new record for the U.S. Navy.

Both ships departed their homeport of Norfolk, Va., on Jan. 17, for the strike group’s Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) and follow-on deployment to the U.S. 6th and 5th Fleet areas of operation.

Although Naval History and Heritage Command does not specifically track continuous days underway for naval vessels, it has two modern documented days-at-sea records, both of which are now broken.

In Feb. 2002, the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) operated for 160 days straight in support of post-9/11 response. And it was again, Ike, who held the record of 152 days consecutively underway during the Iran hostage crisis in 1980.

The ships made over 32 UNREPS, flew over 8,000 sorties and logged more than 40,000 miles underway

Not a bad accomplishment, especially when you consider that Ike is 42 years young, commissioned 18 October 1977, and the Pascagoula-built San Jac is 32, commissioned 23 January 1988.

While of course, Ike is a huge carrier, a floating city in all respects (they even have a library, to where I donated copies of my 2012 book that includes the flat top as a supporting player!) can you imagine being on that Tico for 161 days without a port call? Talk about smelling farts and feet.

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