Per the United States Navy, The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group departed the West Coast yesterday and today for a deployment to the Western Pacific, with this being the strike group’s second consecutive WESTPAC deployment under U.S. 3rd Fleet command.
The Vinson strike group consists of aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) and guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) from Destroyer Squadron 1.
Over 6,000 Sailors assigned to Carl Vinson Strike Group ships and units took to sea on their way to the Western Pacific, with opportunities for forward operations in the North Korean peninsula.
The 3rd Fleet is being tasked with joint naval exercises with Japan and South Korea as well as humanitarian assistance and other “asks” in the Pacific.
The 7th Fleet is already in the region and has been conducting forward operations in the North Korean peninsula and will continue to focus their fleet while also working with the 3rd fleet.
“I look forward to the strike group further demonstrating 3rd Fleet’s evolving operational role across the Indo-Pacific region. We are trained and ready to execute our mission.” ~ CSG commander Rear Adm. John Fuller
According to the US Naval Institute, Carrier Air Wing 2 incudes more than 70 aircraft from the “Black Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4, the “Blue Hawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM 78), the “Bounty Hunters” of Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 2, the “Blue Blasters” of VFA-34, the “Kestrels” of VFA-137, the “Golden Dragons” of VFA-192, the “Black Eagles” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the “Gauntlets” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136, and the “Providers” of Fleet Logistic Support Squadron (VRC) 30 Det. 2.
The USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112) from Destroyer Squadron 1. Michael Murphy is homeported in Hawaii and will join the strike group when it stops at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The carrier and its strike group will be part of the bilateral Operation Foal Eagle and Key Resolve 2017 exercise series that train for potential conflict with North Korea.
“Carl Vinson’s presence is another tangible example of how the ROK – U.S. Alliance continues to enhance interoperability and key capabilities to ensure security and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the region,” commander U.S. Forces Korea Army Gen. Brooks said in a Monday statement from the carrier.
“Seeing the crew in action and how the U.S. Navy conducts their operations while underway is always impressive.”
Included in the exercise this year will be Marine F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters, the U.S. Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile defense system and special operations forces (SOF).
Mainstream media has been reporting that the situation with North Korea may be calming down, with talks between South Korea and North Korea in the making, over the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
President Trump has remained firm that the only way “talks” can be on the table is if North Korea gives up it’s nuclear arms as well as end it’s nuclear programs.
At Camp David on Saturday, President Trump spoke at a press conference:
From FORTUNE: “Right now they’re talking Olympics. It’s a start. It’s a big start. It would be “great for humanity” if something beyond cooperating in February’s Winter Olympic Games comes out of the talks. The U.S. is open to engaging in discussions with South Korea and North Korea at “the appropriate time” and would be willing to speak directly with Kim Jong Un if certain conditions were met.”
When the President was asked if he was willing to speak directly to Kim Jong Un, he added, “Sure, I always believe in talking,” adding that “he knows I’m not messing around, not even a little bit.”
It is clear that President Trump will not back down from the conditions his administration has put in place for any negotiations to take place with North Korea, which the American populace should be extremely proud of as well as back 100%.
Our prayers and God speed to the sailors and soldiers deployed across the globe. Stay time-on-target and focused mission ready.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.
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