The Jet Observer

VFA-34 ‘Blue Blasters’ return home

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Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 1:32 pm | Updated: 3:32 pm, Wed Mar 23, 2011.


SAN DIEGO (NNS) — As the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, arrived in San Diego from a six-month scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Areas of Responsibility (AOR) on March 19, the "Blue Blasters" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34 arrived back home to Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana the same day.

"I could not be more proud of the Sailors and officers in my squadron and the rest of the strike group," said Cmdr. Kenneth Strong, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77 commanding officer. "I am humbled to be a member of such a dedicated team. Obviously we are all happy to be coming home to our families and friends, and are pleased at having done our duty so well."

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) left its homeport of Everett, Wash., Sept. 7 and departed San Diego Sept. 11.

Personnel and aircraft from CVW-2, including San Diego-based Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12 and HSM 77 arrive with Abraham Lincoln, after which Abraham Lincoln will continue to her homeport of Everett, Wash.

The Abraham Lincoln CSG and embarked air wing successfully flew more than 8,300 sorties and completed more than 23,500 flying hours, of which more than 3,600 sorties and almost 11,000 hours were flown in support of U.S. and coalition ground forces supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

In addition to supporting its primary missions

throughout the deployment, Abraham Lincoln CSG completed the following:

• Conducted exercises with coalition countries and other nations, including France, Bahrain, Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

• USS Cape St. George (CG 71), USS Sterett (DDG 104), USS Halsey (DDG 97), USS Shoup (DDG 86) and USS Momsen (DDG 92) assisted mariners in distress and provided humanitarian assistance to more than 10 vessels.

• Visited ports in Malaysia, Bahrain, UAE, Singapore, Saipan, Philippines, Seychelles, Japan, Israel, Thailand, Australia, Oman, Maldives, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia.

• Conducted community relations and community service projects in Malaysia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Saipan, Philippines, Seychelles, Japan, Israel, Thailand, Australia and Maldives.

• Hosted the U.S. secretary of defense, chief of naval operations and more than 30 international dignitaries and military officials.

Abraham Lincoln was recognized during deployment as the best Pacific-based carrier for 2010, earning the prestigious Battle "E" award, as well as 13 individual departmental Battle "E" awards. Additionally, HSM-77 was recognized as a top West Coast helicopter squadron, earning their own Battle "E" award.

Abraham Lincoln CSG, led by Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, is comprised of CVW-2, Destroyer Squadron 9, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, the guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George, guided-missile destroyers USS Momsen, USS Sterett, USS Halsey and USS Shoup. The air wing squadrons of CVW-2 include the "Bounty Hunters" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 2, the "Vigilantes" of VFA-151, the "Kestrels" of VFA-137, the "Blue Blasters" of VFA-34, the "Sun Kings" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 116, the "Lancers" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 131, the "Providers" of VRC 30, the "Golden Falcons" of HSC 12 and the "Saberhawks" of HSM 77.

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