The US Nimitz Carrier Strike Group has started carrying out airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq from the Persian Gulf, the US Navy said in a press release on Monday.
“The first aircraft launched from USS Nimitz (CVN 68) was an F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147. Accompanying Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 squadrons, part of that first flight include the “Black Knights” of VFA-154, the “Blue Diamonds” of VFA-146, the “Death Rattlers” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, and the “Bluetails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121.
“For the Nimitz Strike Group, today is game day,” said Rear Adm. Bill Byrne, commander of CSG-11. “When you hear the roar of the jets today it is for real. It’s game on. Our pilots and aircrew are demonstrating our continued commitment to this region and all of our partner nations.”
Byrne credited the entire crew for the first successful flight operations, and he let them know how important they all are to the operation’s success.
“While it is the aircrews that will be on the very pointy end of our spear, the contribution of everyone is equally important to making this happen,” said Byrne. “Every member of the crew has done their part to ensure we are ready to fight today.”
Other aircraft from CVW-11 embarked on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) also conducted the flight operations. This included the “Gray Wolves” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 142, the “Eightballers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8, the “Wolfpack” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75, and the “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30,” the press release reads.
The press release addeds that the carrier strike group is also “conducting maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners, preserve freedom of navigation, and maintain the free flow of commerce.” In other words, one of the key tasks of the US Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is to project the US military power in the Middle East.