The aircraft carrier Nimitz transits the Pacific Ocean on its way to the Persian Gulf for an eight-month deployment. (MC2 Robert Winn / Navy)
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Carrier sailors deploying to 5th Fleet can expect to spend more than eight months at sea, at least for the next year, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert said at an all-hands call Friday at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville Fla.
“Right now that’s just an estimate, but we think it’s just about right,” Greenert told Navy Times after his talk with sailors. “We’re expecting them to fall between eight and eight and a half [months] I project.”
The carriers expected to be impacted during this near-term increase in deployment lengths will include the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, which is currently deployed in the Persian Gulf, and also the Nimitz, which is on the way. They will be followed next by the Harry S. Truman and then the George H.W. Bush, all of which, Greenert said, will deploy “heel to toe.”
As more carriers come back on line from their overhauls, he said, things can begin to get back to normal. Carrier deployments had been averaging around seven months.
Carrier escorts will also face longer deployments, but it’s unlikely to involve entire strike groups. Other ships are expected to deploy between six and seven months.