Renewed Extremist Action Means More Super Hornets Overhead
Aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 stationed aboard
USS Enterprise (CVN 65) provided support to International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) troops on the ground for the third
consecutive day, September 5, as part of Operation Medusa near
Coordinated with coalition air forces and ISAF troops on the
ground, Enterprise aircraft provided close air support for troops
encountering resistance from Taliban extremists west of
F/A-18F Super Hornets from the "Checkmates" of Strike Fighter
Squadron (VFA) 211, based in Virginia Beach, Va., expended Guided
Bomb Unit (GBU) 12 bombs to suppress the extremists. The GBU-12 is
a general-purpose, laser-guided 500-pound bomb.
F/A-18C Hornets from the "Sidewinders" of VFA-86, based in
Beaufort, SC expended both GBU-12 and GBU-38 bombs, as well as 20
mm rounds from the aircraft’s M61A1 gatling gun on enemy
positions, ending the engagement. The GBU-38 is a general-purpose,
Global Positioning System (GPS) guided 500-pound bomb, also known
as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).
"We have spent our entire careers training for exactly these
kinds of missions and the 'Checkmates' stand ready to support ISAF
forces in Afghanistan," said Cmdr. Kenneth Reynard, executive
officer of VFA-211. "I am proud of this squadron, and the
Enterprise Strike Group team, especially as we fly combat missions
in support of the global war on terrorism and help to set the
conditions for security and stability in Afghanistan."
Aircraft from CVW 1 began providing air support for Operation
Medusa September 2 by flying reconnaissance and strike missions as
required to support ISAF ground troops. As ISAF troops made contact
with Taliban extremists, the extremist positions were called in to
Carrier Air Wing 1 aircraft, which responded to the calls.
"For three straight days the 'Sidewinders' have executed
missions safely in the skies over Afghanistan," said Cmdr. Richard
McCormack, commanding officer of VFA-86. "Everyone is working
incredibly long hours, without any complaints, and with an
incredible spirit of determination - I am honored to be associated
with the outstanding men and women of the 'Sidewinders' and the
entire Enterprise Strike Group."
Since their arrival in the northern Arabian Sea,
Enterprise-based aircraft have focused their efforts on protecting
ISAF ground forces near Kandahar and have flown 78 sorties in
support of Operation Medusa and Operating Enduring Freedom.
In addition to the "Sidewinders" of VFA-86 and the "Checkmates"
of VFA-211, other squadrons of CVW-1 include the "Knighthawks" of
VFA-136, the "Thunderbolts" of Marine Strike Fighter Squadron
(VMFA) 251, the "Screwtops" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron
(VAW) 123, the "Rooks" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137, the
"Maulers" of Sea Control Squadron (VS) 32, the "Rawhides" of
Carrier Logistics Support (VRC) 40, and the "Dragonslayers" of
Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 11.
Enterprise is the flagship in the Enterprise Carrier Strike
Group, which includes the cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), destroyer
USS McFaul (DDG 74), frigate USS Nicholas (FFG 47), all based in
Norfolk, the attack submarine USS Alexandria (SSN 757), homeported
in Groton Conn., and the fast combat supply ship USNS Supply
(T-AOE-6), homeported in Earle, N.J.
The nuclear powered Enterprise and embarked Carrier Air Wing 1
departed Naval Station Norfolk May 2 for a regularly scheduled
six-month deployment in support of the global war on terrorism.
The Enterprise Strike Group is currently operating in the
northern Arabian Sea in support of maritime security operations and
Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.