NORFOLK They've been gone for 313 days and now, some members of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower strike group are finally returning to Hampton Roads Tuesday, one day ahead of the aircraft carrier itself.
Since departing Norfolk on February 22, on the second leg of a ten-month deployment, the 57 returning Ike Air Wing aircraft reached numerous milestones.
They participated in Operation Enduring Freedom and maritime security operations in the North Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf. Carrier Air Wing 7, as the group is also known, completed over 5,200 sorties, of which more than1,300 were combat designated.
During these missions they amassed nearly 13,000 flight hours and logged 5,200 carrier arrested landings, or traps. While providing combat support for coalition ground forces, the wing delivered various amounts of ordnance, including bombs and 20mm ammunition.
Returning to Naval Station Norfolk Chambers Field were Airborne Early Warning Squadron 121 (VAW-121), the Bluetails, with four E-2C Hawkeye aircraft and Helicopter Support Squadron 5 (HS-5) Nightdippers with 5 H-60 Sea Hawk helicopters.
Arriving to NAS Oceana were the Rampagers of Strike Fighter Squadron 83 (VFA-93) with 10 F/A-18C Hornets; VFA-103 Jolly Rogers with 12 F/A-18F Super Hornets; VFA-131, the Wildcats flying F/A-18C Hornets; and the Pukin Dogs of VFA-143 in their F/A-18E Super Hornets.