Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Frost
SOUTH CHINA SEA – The John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) is conducting routine operations in the South China Sea. The ships transited the Luzon Strait March 1 and have maintained a location in the eastern half of these international waters for four days.
USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), USS Stockdale (DDG 106) and USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) all conducted a replenishment-at-sea today receiving advanced biofuel, aviation fuel and supplies from USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7). Flight operations have occurred daily with Carrier Airwing (CVW) 9 conducting 266 sorties.
Numerous People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA(N)) vessels have remained in JCSSG’s vicinity during this time period.
“We have Chinese ships around us that we normally didn’t see in my past experience,” said Capt. Greg Huffman, Stennis’ commanding officer. Huffman previously deployed to the South China Sea in 2007.
“Everything I have heard over bridge-to-bridge channels has been good communications between professional mariners,” he added.
In recent months, other U.S. Navy ships have conducted similar events in the 7th Fleet area of operations including the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS Preble (DDG 88) and USS McCampbell (DDG 85), the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48), the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), and the Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3).
JCSSG is the centerpiece of the Great Green Fleet, a year-long initiative highlighting the Navy’s efforts to transform its energy use to increase operational capability. The strike group is using energy efficiency measures, to include technologies and operational procedures, and alternative fuel in the course of its normal operations.
JCSSG is on a regularly scheduled deployment to 7th Fleet. Associated units include USS Stennis with CVW-9 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21 embarked, guided-missile destroyers USS Stockdale, USS Chung-Hoon, and USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay.
CVW-9 consists of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133 and Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 151, 97, 41 and 14.