206 Days and a Rail Manning
The Eisenhower Strike Group returned home Sunday after an epic 206 days at sea– without a port call. Yikes.
The accomplishment is a record for the modern Navy. The next longest period without a port call for a carrier group was back in 2002 when USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) operated for 160 days straight in support of the Post-9/11 response.
Sure, you can point out that carriers on Yankee Station regularly pulled off 8-9 month West Pac cruises during Vietnam in the 1960s and 70s, but they would at least get some downtime in Hong Kong, Singapore, or Australia during that time. Ike, with nine squadrons of her embarked Carrier Air Wing 3, and the escorting AAW cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56), did not.
As noted by CSG10 commander:
Carrier Strike Group TEN left Naval Station Norfolk Jan. 17, 2020, and returned home today, Aug. 9, 2020. From the Composite Unit Training Exercise straight into deployment, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea, from the Strait of Gibraltar through the Suez Canal and Bab-al-Mandeb to the Strait of Hormuz, we traversed about 60,000 nautical miles of the globe’s oceans in 206 consecutive days.
In that span of space and time, we escorted a convoy across the Atlantic Ocean in support of Operation Agile Defender to practice evading submarine forces and deliver 1.3 million square feet of combat cargo for the first time in more than five decades. In 6th Fleet, we helped foster meaningful partnerships with our allied NATO navies in multinational high-end exercises with Italy, Turkey, Greece, and France.
Our deployment to 5th Fleet was robust in the arenas of Theater Security Cooperation and Maritime Security Operations. We provided layered defense at the three chokepoints and throughout the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, and Gulf of Aden.
We conducted 166 sorties and 1,135 flight hours in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel missions, and 112 sorties and 492 flight hours in support of Strait of Hormuz transits and Deliberate Presence Patrols.