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Team Carl Vinson Departs US 5th Fleet - The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) prepares for flight operations.
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman D'Andre L. Roden, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70), At sea (NNS) -- The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, departed the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, April 16, after six months of combat operations over Iraq and Syria in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

While in the region, CVW 17 successfully flew 12,300 sorties, including 2,383 combat missions, landed more than 9,220 aircraft, and dropped 869 precision guided munitions totaling more than half a million pounds of ordnance.

"These operations contributed significantly to coalition efforts that have blunted the momentum of ISIS, and severely degraded their combat capability," said Rear Adm. Chris Grady, Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group commander. "Since combat operations began in October of last year, ISIS is no longer able to fight like an army but like a band of terrorists with a corrupt ideology."

While in U.S. 5th Fleet the ships of Destroyer Squadron 1 participated in numerous theater security cooperation events with several nations. Notably, the guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104), and ships from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (Navy) PLA(N), conducted the bilateral "U.S.-China Counter-Piracy Exercise 15," in the Gulf of Aden, Dec. 11, 2014.

After months of demanding operations and long hours each and every day, Capt. Karl Thomas, Carl Vinson commanding officer, expressed his gratitude to the team for their mission-oriented focus.

"Not once did this group of Sailors get complacent while performing the challenging tasks at hand," said Thomas. "They answered every call and performed exceptionally both onboard the ship and out on liberty. I've been thrilled to see great esprit de corps and teamwork across the ship and air wing team."

The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, relieved the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group with CVW 17, April 13 as the Commander, Task Force 50 supporting the U.S. 5th Fleet. Theodore Roosevelt will take over support to Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations, combat operations in Iraq and Syria, and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group will operate in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations en route to its homeport of San Diego.

"I am extremely proud of the men and women who have made sacrifices in support of our county and our Navy," said Grady. "We remain ready to respond to any and all challenges while operating in the 7th Fleet area of operations."

For more information and photos of USS Carl Vinson operations, visit www.facebook.com/USSVINSON.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex King
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