By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Nathanael Miller, Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs
USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, At Sea (NNS) -- Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, embarked aboard aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), began flying the first combat sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Aug. 9.
These missions will provide direct support to coalition forces on the ground in Afghanistan. The support includes electronic warfare, close-air support, airborne command and control, and reconnaissance.
"Air-support missions are intended to degrade terrorist activities, diminish the influence of the Taliban and improve security to encourage economic prosperity in the region," said Capt. Samuel J. Paparo, CVW-7 commander. "We bring a wide range of capabilities to coalition forces in Afghanistan and take pride in the fact that we are working with them to establish security and stability there. Every squadron has trained thoroughly for these missions, and now it is time to execute."
Since 2009, U.S. Navy aircraft have averaged about 5,000 close-air support missions per year in support of OEF.
Eisenhower joins the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG), led by aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), which has been operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility since April.
While air support will be the primary focus in support of OEF, Eisenhower and other CSG surface ships can also achieve a robust set of missions in support of regional maritime security.
"Our mission is to set the conditions for economic prosperity, which encompasses ensuring maritime security of all commercial sea lanes," said Rear Adm. Michael Manazir, commander, Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group. "The versatility of our capabilities and vitality of our Sailors allows us to be flexible and agile at all times."
Manazir stressed how critical every Sailor of the carrier strike group is to mission success, from flight deck personnel, to the pilots, to the engineers.
"Everyone has a role and everyone does it exceptionally well," said Manazir. "I am extremely proud of the Sailors that compose this strike group and I am certain that each will perform at the highest caliber possible."
CVW-7 is composed of the "Bluetails" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 121, the "Patriots"of Electronic Attach Squadron 140, the "Rampagers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 83, the "Jolly Rogers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103, the "Wildcats" VFA 131, the "Puking Dogs" of VFA 143, and the "Nightdippers" of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron 5.
Eisenhower is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, conducting maritime security operations and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.