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USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 returned to the North Arabian Sea today, to resume combat missions supporting Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) following a port visit in the Arabian Gulf.
Aircrews provide close air support and reconnaissance to coalition forces in Afghanistan, launching from the deck of Nimitz hundreds of miles away.
"After nearly 3 months on station, this air wing continues to hone our skills to deliver effective support to our coalition partners on the ground," said Capt. Bret Batchelder, commander, CVW 11, "although, nothing about this mission out here is routine".
CVW 11 aviators work closely with embarked Army ground liaison officers here and air controllers on the ground in Afghanistan to deliver precision support to counter-insurgency operations.
They are all guided by the tactical directive instituted in July by Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, which places limitations on the use of force that could result in civilian casualties.
Since entering the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Operations Sep. 18., CVW 11 has flown more than 1,450 sorties and totaled more than 8,500 cumulative flight hours in support of OEF.
Nimitz provides 30 percent of the close air support to the coalition force in Afghanistan.
Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, commanded by Rear Adm. John W. Miller, is comprised of USS Nimitz, embarked CVW 11, embarked Destroyer Squadron 23, and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Chosin. Ships assigned to DESRON 23 include the destroyers USS Pinckney, USS Sampson and the frigate USS Rentz.
Squadrons from CVW 11 include the "Black Aces" of Strike Fighter Squadron 41, the "Tophatters" of VFA 14, the "Warhawks" of VFA 97, the "Sidewinders" of VFA 86, the "Indians" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 6, the "Black Ravens" of Electronic Attack Squadron 135, the "Providers" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30 and the "Wallbangers" of Carrier Airborne Command and Control Squadron 117.
Helicopter detachments include the "Easy Riders" of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light 37, the "Battle Cats" of HSL 43, the "Wolfpack" of HSL 45, the "Scorpions" of HSL 49 and the "Wildcards" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23. Also accompanying the Nimitz CSG are Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 and the USNS Bridge.