The aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, Monday, wrapping up a nine-month deployment to U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
The Truman got underway Dec. 1, 2021. It had been scheduled to move on to U.S. 5th Fleet/U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in the Middle East. But shortly after its arrival in the Mediterranean Sea, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the carrier to remain there due to Russia’s build up of forces on Ukraine’s border. In March, Lloyd announced that the deployment would be extended in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Feb. 24.
Embarked Carrier Air Wing 1 completed NATO enhanced air policing missions while in the 6th Fleet, and the carrier was placed under NATO operational control in January for a new maritime exercise, called Neptune Strike, that focused on maritime maneuvers, anti-submarine warfare training, and long-range strike training.
The carrier also participated in exercise Neptune Shield in June, which aimed to enhance interoperability between a carrier, an amphibious ready group, and a Marine expeditionary unit.
“This has been an outstanding deployment by every measure due to the expertise and professionalism of our Sailors,” said Capt. Gavin Duff, Truman’s commanding officer, according to a Navy news release. “This deployment was a first of its kind for nearly all of us onboard. I am immensely proud of the tenacity, skill and commitment this crew displayed to our Allies, partners and our own leadership. These Sailors are the soul of this ship, and I can think of no greater honor than to be part of this team.”
The Truman’s strike group included guided missile destroyers Bainbridge, Cole, Gravely and Jason Dunham, the guided-missile cruiser San Jacinto, Carrier Air Wing 1 and staff from Carrier Strike Group 8.
The San Jacinto returned to Norfolk Sept. 8, and the Cole and Bainbridge returned to Norfolk the following day. All nine squadrons assigned to Carrier Air Wing 1 returned to NS Norfolk and Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia, and NAS Jacksonville, Florida, on Sept. 5.
The Jason Dunham and Gravely returned to the East Coast in June.
The aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush relieved Truman in the Ionian Sea on Aug. 27 after conducting dual carrier operations. The Bush is slated to work with allies and partners in Europe for the duration of its deployment, according to the Navy.
“We have the watch,” said Rear Adm. Dennis Velez, commander of the Bush Carrier Strike Group, in a Navy news release. “The Truman and Bush Strike Groups represent a force that only a U.S. Navy carrier strike group can provide combatant commanders. The Truman Strike Group executed the mission, reassured our partners and allies, and gave our diplomats opportunities to negotiate from a position of strength. They served our nation and the region well. We are proud of our teammates and wish them well on their return to friends and family.”