U.S. Navy protects freedom of navigation in South China Sea

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (NIMCSG) began operating in the South China Sea Jan. 12 for the first time during the group’s 2022-2023 deployment.

While in the South China Sea, the strike group is conducting maritime strike training, anti-submarine operations, integrated multi-domain and joint training between surface and air elements, and flight operations with fixed and rotary wing aircraft. Carrier operations in the South China Sea are part of the U.S. Navy’s routine operations in the Indo-Pacific.

“The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group has the capability to deliver integrated lethal and non-lethal effects from space to undersea, across every axis, and every domain,” said Rear Adm. Christopher Sweeney, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11. “Our sailors’ tenacity and warfighting prowess are unmatched and a testimony to our country’s determination to work alongside our allies and partners to maintain free and open seas.”

The CSG 11 staff is embarked on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73), USS Chung Hoon (DDG 93), USS Wayne E Meyer (DDG 108), the squadrons and staff of Carrier Air Wing Seventeen (CVW 17), and the staffs of Destroyer Squadron Nine (DESRON 9) are attached to the strike group and provide unparalleled firepower across all domains – air, sea and land.

The squadrons that make up CVW 17 are the “Fighting Redcocks” of Strike Fighter Squadron 22 (VFA 22), “Mighty Shrikes” of Strike Fighter Squadron 94 (VFA 94), “Kestrels” of Strike Fighter Squadron 137 (VFA 137), “Blue Diamonds” of Strike Fighter Squadron 146 (VFA 146), “Cougars” of Electronic Attack Squadron 139 (VAQ 139), “Sun Kings” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 116 (VAW 116), “Battlecats” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73 (HSM 73) and the “Screamin’ Indians” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 6 (HSC 6).

The strike group remains committed to protecting the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea, and upholding the rules-based international order alongside allies and partners. CSG 11 demonstrates the ability to deliver overwhelming maritime force if called upon.

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is currently underway in 7th Fleet conducting routine operations. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy‘s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with Allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Hannah Kantner. SOUTH CHINA SEA (Jan. 12, 2023). The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) transits through the South China Sea. 

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