The USS Eisenhower (CVN 69) carrier strike group (CSG) returned to the Norfolk Naval Station on Sunday after a seven-month deployment without normal port visit operations due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“After completing a seven-month deployment and a record-breaking 206 consecutive days at sea, #USSDwightDEisenhower returned to Naval Station Norfolk TODAY. WELCOME HOME! #NavyHomecoming,” the U.S. Navy official Twitter account posted, highlighting the USS Eisenhower’s 206 consecutive days at sea.
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) August 9, 2020
“Words cannot express the admiration I have for each and every Sailor onboard. These young men and women were thrust into a situation no one could have predicted and they responded as only Navy Sailors can – they adapted and overcame the adversity. I witnessed their excellence day in and day out as they accomplished repairs never before attempted at sea,” Capt. Kyle Higgins, the USS Eisenhower’s commanding officer said in a Navy statement. “I am deeply humbled to have the privilege of working alongside them. They are what make our Navy the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen.”
Following their completion of more than 100 days at sea without port stops the Naval History and Heritage Command created a new title for the feat of naval endurance, bestowing members of the carriers strike group with the newly formed title of “Iron Shellbacks.”
The USS Eisenhower and the accompanying Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) both broke the Navy’s previously held record of 160 days at sea without a port stop, Military.com reported.
“I could not have asked for greater effort from the CVW-3/IKE team during this challenging deployment. The professionalism of my aircrew and the sailors sweating through seven months of no port visit operations was simply eye-watering,” said Capt. Trevor Estes, commander Carrier Air Wing 3.
Carrier Air Wing 3 completed 10,466 rotary and fixed-wing sorties, 7,751 traps, and logged more than 21,995 mishap-free flight hours.
All the U.S. Navy ships attached to the Eisenhower CSG also sailed at least 60,000 nautical miles during their deployments, including through multiple military exercises and dual-carrier operations with French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).
Sailors aboard the various ships attached to the Eisenhower CSG also completed more than 500 technical repairs to both ships and aircraft that would normally require stops in ports or require technical assistance visits.
“Our Sailors inspire me with their grit, pride and professionalism. They are the backbone of IKE Strike Group’s warfighting excellence,” Rear Adm. Brendan McLane, commander of Carrier Strike Group 10 said. “IKE CSG Sailors demonstrated resiliency in the face of adversity by their ingenuity, flexibility, and self-sufficiency. They were a testament to the strike group’s ability to adapt and overcome the tough challenges of this deployment.”
Between August 6 and 7, some 18,000 sailors attached to nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 3 returned to their home respective home bases at Naval Air Station Oceana and Norfolk Naval Station, Virginia, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, and Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida.