Tag Archives: underway days at sea

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.

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) marking her 200th day at sea last week. It is hard to show another Navy that could rack up almost seven months afloat on an all-underway replenishment cruise with no port calls. 

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.

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.