The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt pulled into its new San Diego home port on Monday, following a 'round-the-world globe-rounding world-wide deployment that began 8 ½ months ago when the ship and its strike group left Norfolk for a rotation in the Middle East for a cruise that would be marked by strikes on the Islamic State group and as well as multiple run-ins with Iranian-flagged ships.
The TR's Roosevelt's deployment was unique in that it also marked a home-port shift, part of a three-carrier realignment that saw the George Washington return to the U.S. from Japan for a mid-life overhaul in Norfolk, while the San Diego-based carrier Ronald Reagan replaced it in Yokosuka.
Carrier Air Wing 1's eight squadrons also made the stop at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, California, for a break before heading back to Norfolk. Destroyer Squadron 2 returned to its East Coast home ports earlier this month.
"This has been a long and arduous deployment, operating in the extreme heat of the Arabian Gulf, and our sailors and Marines have performed," said Capt. Benjamin Hewlett, commander of Carrier Air Wing 1, in a Navy release. "The deck crew launched over 1,800 combat sorties into Iraq and Syria and the aircrew dropped over one million pounds of precision guided ordnance on Islamic State targets. We can all be justifiably proud of the impact that this air wing has had in the fight to destroy ISIL."
Those sorties added up to 10,618 flight hours and 1,085 guided munitions dropped successfully on Islamic State group targets and fighting positions in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Together with the cruiser Normandy and the destroyers Farragut, Forrest Sherman and Winston S. Churchill, Carrier Strike Group 12 sailed nearly 27,000 nautical miles, making an early port visit to Portsmouth, England, and spending weeks off the coast of Yemen in an attempt to deter Iranian arms shipments into the country in the midst of a civil war.
The deployment also marked major aviation milestones. It was the first operational use of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye with the "Tigertails" of Carrier Early Airborne Warning Squadron 125, according to the release.
And it was an ending for the "Dragonslayers" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 11, who completed the last active-duty operational deployment of both the HH-60H Rescue Hawk and SH-60F Seahawk.
Those helicopters will be transferred to other squadrons or sent to the Navy's boneyard at Davis-Montham Air Force Base, Arizona, while HS-11 transitions to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 11, which will fly the MH-60S Seahawk exclusively, the release said. Marine Corps Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 251 "Thunderbolts" were also flew sorties on the deployment.