Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Anthony Flynn // Staff Writer
Continuing the coalition fight against ISIS, Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group has surpassed an operational milestone, delivering the most carrier based ordnance throughout the conflict, substantially degrading ISIS resources and leadership.
After returning from strike missions April 15, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 embarked aboard aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), completed 1,407 combat sorties, delivering 1,118 pieces, over 580 tons, of ordnance. Both the weight and number exceed the total dropped by aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during its record-setting 2015 deployment.
“Since our arrival in the Arabian Gulf, the Truman Strike Group has been conducting operations around the clock,” said Capt. Ryan B. Scholl, Truman’s commanding officer. “This deployment is busier than any other I’ve seen. Every Sailor is doing great work individually and executing as a combat team to reach this milestone. It is due to this dedication as a combined force that Truman is making a significant difference fighting for our country.”
Truman, in partnership with 64 nations, has taken the fight to ISIS. Now in its fifth month of deployment, the strike group has played a tremendous role in Operation Inherent Resolve.
“I want you to know the impact you are having,” said Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, commanding general, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve. “You’ve seen the [OIR] strike videos; but holistically, what I’m seeing is an enemy who doesn’t have gas left in the tank.”
Truman did not intend to set a Navy record, it was simply a result of the ship’s productivity and efficiency while working toward completing its mission.
“Completing the ship’s mission is something I always look forward to,” said Capt. David “Chicken” Little, commander, Carrier Air Wing 7. “Today marks and signifies the progress we’ve made and how hard we’ve worked as a strike group. Everyone did their part. It’s the dedication of the whole team that makes completing our mission out here possible.”
Deploying during times of conflict is a challenge that requires all hands to achieve mission success.
“We figured based on [Roosevelt’s] deployment that we would be utilized more than our previous deployment,” Cmdr. Jim McDonald, Truman’s weapon’s officer. “We had no idea we would be used to this extent and magnitude. We started dropping bombs December 29 and here we are in mid-April still going strong.”
Truman Sailors responsible for assembling, handling and transporting the ordnance throughout the ship played a crucial role in reaching the amount of bombs dropped.
“The leadership’s number one concern has always been safety, not necessarily the number of bombs we are dropping,” said McDonald. “Making sure things are being done safely, and by the book, has really been our main focus. The air wing being able to successfully put bombs on target tells us that we’re doing our job right.”
It takes thousands of Sailors of various ranks and rates, many on their first deployment, coming together to reach this milestone.
“It takes the training, skill and hard work of all the junior Sailors to make sure we’re operating successfully,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Matt Malone. “As a supervisor I’m making sure our department is putting out a quality product every time, but really it’s their work that keeps the wheels turning.”
Contributions to mission success can be found in every department, on any level of the ship, from the lowest deck, to the flight deck and above.
“I see launches and recoveries all day while I’m checking oil and brakes, making sure our aircraft are good to go,” said Airman Recruit Jake Olson, assigned to the “Wallbangers” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117. “It’s definitely a rewarding feeling knowing I’m apart of something that has never been done before.”