Bush carrier strike group set to return

By Lance M. Bacon, Staff writer

Four ships, one air wing and more than 5,000 sailors of the Bush carrier strike group are scheduled to return home Saturday after a nine-month deployment to 5th and 6th Fleets that caught national attention as the carrier led airstrikes against Islamic State group militants.

The Bush CSG launched air strikes and operations against IS militants as part of Operation Inherent Resolve over Iraq and Syria. They also provided air support for Operation Enduring Freedom over Afghanistan. The strike group is comprised of the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush and destroyer Truxtun, both of which are based out of Naval Station Norfolk, and the destroyer Roosevelt and cruiser Philippine Sea, which are based out of NS Mayport, Florida. The embarked squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 8 are based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia.

These sailors, who deployed the day after Valentine’s Day, were among the first to qualify for Hardship Duty Pay – Tempo. The deployment pay — $16.50 daily, but not to exceed $495 a month — is paid to sailors who are deployed more than 220 consecutive days. It was approved Sept. 17 — one week before the strike group sailors became eligible.

This marked the second deployment for the Bush, which was commissioned in 2009. The carrier was relieved by the Carl Vinson, which set sail Aug. 23 on what is expected to be a nearly 10-month deployment. Both carriers are scheduled to enter the Optimized Fleet Response Plan in 2015, which aims to make ship schedules more predictable and to reduce deployments to a seven-month standard.

Back to Top