USS CARL VINSON, At Sea (NNS) -- Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 Sailors began conducting air missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Jan. 14.
To mark the beginning of their current U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) operations, Carl Vinson and CVW-17 safely launched 58 scheduled combat sorties.
"We are doing our first sets of mission for troops on the ground," said Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class (AW) Kyle Pierce, Operations Department's, communications division air operations supervisor and departure controller. "We have to be on the top of our game to be there for the people who need us."
Carl Vinson and CVW-17 spent months performing work ups to train, man and equip the CSG prior to it deploying to the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.
"Our main objective is safe departure and recovery of aircraft so they can successfully carry out their mission," said Cmdr. Brian Flick, Air Operations officer. "We are proud to be able to support OEF.
During Vinson's previous deployment to the AOR in 2011, the crew spent 95 days engaged in maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, and flew 1,656 combat sorties in support of operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.
Carl Vinson and Carrier Strike Group 1 arrived on station in the Arabian Sea, Jan. 9, to relieve Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). Carl Vinson is deployed with guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97).
CVW-17 is comprised of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, VFA-25, VFA-81, VFA-113; Electronic Attack Squadron 134, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125, Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 15.