Navy and Marines Complete Pioneering Joint Deployment to the Pacific

One of the US Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carriers recently completed a deployment to what could be the theater of the next great war: the Indo-Pacific.

The Nimitz-class aircraft carriers are not the newest in the US Navy. However, they are some of the largest and most advanced aircraft carriers in the world. Especially in the case of the latest exercises, they are also proving to be the most innovative.

In an amalgamation of late Cold War and modern stealth technology, a US Navy statement explained that “the CVW-9 [Ala Aérea de Portaaviones 9] is the first carrier strike group to deploy with a squadron of F-35C Lightning II the U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314, and the second to deploy with a squadron of Navy CMV-22 Ospreys, Fleet Multi-Mission Logistics Squadron (VRM) 30”. CVW-9 was embarked aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln for the deployment.

The statement also provided insight into the high number of sorties the deployment conducted, saying that “during the deployment, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 executed more than 21,307 fixed-wing and helicopter flight hours comprising 10,250 sorties. , 8,437 launches and 8,487 aircraft arrests”.

“Sailors and Marines from Carrier Air Wing 9 have worked together for the past seven months, providing a credible deterrent to any potential adversary in the Pacific,” said Capt. Lew Callaway, CVW-9 commander.

“Naval aviators culminated 100 years of carrier aviation history by operating 4th and 5th generation aircraft from an aircraft carrier of clase Nimitz at sea. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve, and celebrate our return to home port, family and friends,” added Callaway.

“Words cannot express how proud I am of the Sailors and Marines attached to CVW-9,” MCPO Craig Vavruska, CVW-9 chief of command, said in the Navy statement. “They expertly applied their training and approached each mission with strength and endurance. Their families have a lot to be proud of,” he added.

CVW-9 participated in a series of important exercises with US allies in the Pacific. For example, the Navy explained that the carrier group “participated in dual-carrier operations in the South China Sea with the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike, as well as the joint exercise Valiant Shield in June 2022, and the bilateral exercises Noble Fusion in February and Jungle Warfare in March, both with the Japan Self-Defense Force, and most recently CVW-9 trained alongside 26 participating nations during the RimPAC 2022 exercise in July”.

RIMPAC is one of the most important exercises in the Indo-Pacific. Primarily a maritime exercise, RIMPAC only takes place every two years. Twenty-six countries from across the Pacific participated in this year’s edition.

The participation of the Pacific countries in RIMPAC has intensified in recent years, although the exercise has been carried out almost continuously since the 1970s. Since China has expressed its interest in expanding its claims in the region, it is exercise is likely to become more important in the future.

About the Author: Caleb Larson is a multimedia journalist and defense writer for the National Interest. A UCLA graduate, he also has a master’s degree in public policy and lives in Berlin. He covers the intersection of conflict, security, and technology, focusing on American foreign policy, European security, and German society, for both print and radio. Follow him on Twitter @calebmlarson.

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