Today at noon Eastern, the storied aircraft carrier Enterprise, aka CVN-65, left its home port of Naval Station Norfolk one final time for its final voyage with a heading: Arabian Sea, aka Iran. There in a week it will join CVN 72 Lincoln and CVN 70 Vinson, as well as LHD 8 Makin Island, all of which are supporting any potential escalation of "hostilities" in the Persian Gulf region. As a reminder, back in January we learned that the Enterprise's final voyage will be in proximity to Iran, and in the meantime, the aircraft carrier held extended drills off the Florida coast to attack a "faux theocracy" consisting of fundamentalist "Shahida" states. Why the Arabian Sea in about 7-10 days will be home to not two but three aircraft carriers and a big deck amphibious warfare ship is very much an open question, although we may have some thoughts.
Thousands of sailors will deploy today from Norfolk on the USS Enterprise for the last time on Sunday.
Nearly 5,500 Sailors aboard the ships of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (ENT CSG) are scheduled to deploy from Naval Stations Norfolk and Mayport, Fla., March 9, 11 and 12, to support operations with the U.S. Navys 5th and 6th Fleets.
The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), commanded by Capt. William C. Hamilton Jr., will depart from Naval Station Norfolk for the ships 22nd and final deployment March 11.
CVN 65 will not be alone:
After the Enterprise leaves Sunday, three Norfolk-based guided-missile destroyers will head out Monday — the USS Porter, USS Nitze and USS James E. Williams.
The strike group is commanded by Rear Adm. Ted Carter Jr.
Carrier Air Wing 1, based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, will be embarked aboard the Enterprise.
The Enterprise was launched September 24, 1960, by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. and commissioned November 25, 1961.
Its record of high-profile service began with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Since then, it has served in countless missions around the world.
The aircraft squadrons of CVW 1 embarked aboard Enterprise are: Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 Red Rippers, VFA 136 Knighthawks, VFA 211 Fighting Checkmates, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251 Thunderbolts, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123 Screwtops, Carrier Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 137 Rooks, Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 Rawhides, and Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron (HSL) 11 Dragon Slayers.
Some pictures released minutes ago from Enterprise's final deployment:
Finally, this is how congested the Arabian Sea looks right about now, where two carriers and one assault ship are currently located, via Stratfor.