The Enterprise Strike Group just wrapped up the last week of preparations, and our Sailors are spending time with friends and family before we leave homeport Norfolk for the last time in Enterprise history. March 11 will be historic in many ways… It will be the 22nd deployment of this legendary ship, but will also be a very prideful day to the Sailors and Marines who will sail with her and for those who have served aboard her over her 50-year history.
We will sail Sunday with Sailors and Marines who will deploy for the first time, but aboard the Big E, we are also blessed to sail with Shipmates who have deployed many times before–some on the ship’s most recent deployment and they have chosen to remain aboard to be a part of bringing this ageless ship home one last time.
This deployment will not be a joy ride or a farewell world-cruise tour. We know going in that Enterprise will finish strong doing what she’s been doing for 50 years… Serving America’s interests abroad and ready to respond as needed for our Navy and our Nation. Enterprise is headed to the fore of our nation’s effort in promoting and protecting freedom with a proud heritage of success in battle on the sea. We are taking this great ship forward one last time to operate across the globe and provide our nation’s leadership the full spectrum of sea-based options. If called upon, this Strike Group can deliver modern, conventional and asymmetric capability for deterrence, sea control, and power projection. Our goal- to deter aggression and reassure our partners that we have the watch.
As warfighters, we are ready to fight and win. We’ve trained hard, and are ready to respond to any mission we are called upon to support. Your Navy and your Sailors and Marines are leaving this Sunday to continue protecting the interconnected systems of trade, information, and security that underpin American democratic principles and promote global security and prosperity. This is quite a responsibility, and you should all be very proud of all the Navy and Marine Corps team of the Enterprise Strike Group who have enthusiastically assumed this responsibility.
As servicemen and women, we are ready, both professionally and personally. Our training has challenged us mentally and physically, and we have the resources to only get stronger and better in the months ahead. Whether it be honing our skills as aviators and mariners, completing warfare qualifications, spending time in the gym, or taking college classes – we will get better every day!
While serving our country is immensely fulfilling work, one of the most difficult aspects of deployment isn’t the deployment itself, but rather the impact it has on our families.
We could not do what we do everyday without the support of our families and friends at home. Your sacrifices are often more challenging than our own, but your support is so important to our success.
My charge to our Enterprise Strike Group Team – Keep the long view. In the journey of life, this is just one small ocean we’ve chosen to transit. We will learn great things about ourselves. We will forge lasting bonds. We will all emerge stronger. We should embrace that we are a part of something much greater than ourselves, yet we depend on each other to achieve greatness. Your service to each other, your Navy and your family reflect greatly upon your character and your commitment to our Nation’s freedom.
To our families and friends, keep in touch with your Sailors and Marines, they will need your support as much as you need theirs. We will keep our Facebook pages and blogs flowing with news from the ships and squadrons, and look forward to ‘seeing’ you there.
RDML Ted “Slapshot” Carter
Commander, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group