F/A-18C Hornet fighter jets from Carrier Air Wing 9, flying from
the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in the Persian Gulf,
dropped six precision bombs on anti-Iraqi forces in Iraq May 8.
The aircraft, attached to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA)
323 and Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, were operating south of
Samarra, Iraq, while conducting airborne presence and security
missions in support of Iraqi and coalition ground forces.
All of the aircraft were recovered safely aboard Carl Vinson
after the mission.
The Carl Vinson Strike Group is charged with a variety of
missions. Aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 9 are flying patrols over
Iraq and the Gulf to lend assistance to multinational forces if
needed. Surface ships, under the command of Destroyer Squadron 31,
are part of the multinational forces in the Gulf conducting
Maritime Security Operations (MSO) to protect offshore
infrastructure, including Iraqi oil platforms, which provide a
critical source of income for the new Iraqi government.
MSO sets the conditions for security and stability in the
maritime environment and complements the counter-terrorism and
security efforts of regional nations. MSO denies international
terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or
to transport personnel, weapons, or other material.
The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is comprised of Carrier Air
Wing 9, Destroyer Squadron 31, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
Carl Vinson, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), the
guided-missile destroyers USS O’Kane (DDG 77) and USS Mustin
(DDG 89), the fast-combat support ship USS Camden (AOE 2), and
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11, Det. 9.
The squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 9 include the Blue Diamonds of
VFA-146, the Argonauts of VFA-147, the Black Knights of VFA-154,
the Death Rattlers of VMFA-323, the Screwbirds of Sea Control
Squadron 33, the Golden Hawks of Airborne Early Warning Squadron
112, the Yellow Jackets of Electronic Attack Squadron 138, the
Providers of Carrier Logistic Support Squadron 30, and the
Eightballers of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 8.