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Stennis sailors return home to Bremerton today
Sailors aboard the Bremerton-based aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) will reunite with their families and friends today.
Stennis departed Bremerton Jan. 13 for a regularly scheduled six-month Western Pacific deployment to the 3rd and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility.
The squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 completed their 2009 deployment when the Stennis pulled into Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. July 6.
According to CVW 9 Deputy Commander Capt. Paul Haas, the deployment was more like the traditional Western Pacific Ocean deployments from his days as a junior officer.
“We’ve spent a lot of generations in the Arabian Gulf doing Fifth Fleet operations,” he said. “This is a vital and very important thing that we do in the Western Pacific.”
During the deployment, CVW 9 participated in an undersea warfare exercise with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, annual exercise Foal Eagle with the Republic of Korea and joint exercise Northern Edge 2009.
CVW 9 sailors also participated in 38 community service projects during seven port visits.
The deployment marked several milestones within the air wing. The Raptors of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71 completed their maiden deployment, while the “Yellow Jackets” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 138 made their last scheduled deployment with the EA-6B Prowler. The “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 completed their first deployment with the F/A-18E Super Hornet after transitioning from F/A-18C Hornet.
CVW 9 flew more than 7,250 sorties, consisting of approximately 12,747 flight hours with a sortie completion rate of 97 percent during deployment.
While deployed, the squadrons of CVW 9 increased maritime security in the Western Pacific Ocean through their active presence and working with partner nations during exercises and port visits.
Stennis arrived at Naval Station Everett June 30, after participating in Operation Northern Edge 2009 in Alaskan waters, to offload NAS Whidbey’s VAQ-138 Yellow Jackets and to embark more than 1,000 of the crew’s family and friends aboard for a tiger cruise to San Diego. After offloading the tigers and CVW 9 personnel and equipment and NAS North Island, Stennis welcomed another 500 tigers for the final transit to its homeport of Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton.