More than 7,500 sailors will descend on Honolulu this weekend in what will be a short-term boon for business with the USS Nimitz carrier strike group and the littoral combat ship USS Coronado arriving in town for port stops.
The Nimitz Strike Group is scheduled to arrive in Pearl Harbor Saturday following a six-month deployment that included a rare three-aircraft carrier link-up in the Sea of Japan off the Korean Peninsula.
The strike group sailed more than 78,000 miles during the deployment, flew 1,322 combat sorties into Iraq and Syria, and dropped 904 pieces of ordnance while in the Persian Gulf, according to the Navy. The 1,092-foot Nimitz left Bremerton, Wash. on June 1.
The Nimitz, USS Ronald Reagan and USS Theodore Roosevelt strike groups conducted joint operations with warships from Japan and South Korea Nov. 11-14 in a show of force aimed at North Korea. Not since 2007 had the Navy conducted a three-carrier exercise in the Pacific.
The Theodore Roosevelt strike group alone had about 7,500 sailors and Marines. About a dozen escort ships and 225 aircraft were part of the entire armada.
Carrier Strike Group 11 consists of the USS Nimitz, Carrier Air Wing 11, Destroyer Squadron 9, cruiser USS Princeton and destroyers USS Howard, USS Shoup, USS Kidd, and USS Pinckney.
“Our entire team is excited to visit the great state of Hawaii,” Rear Adm. Gregory Harris, the commander of the Nimitz strike group, said in a release. “After a very successful combat deployment (to the Middle East), everyone is looking forward to being able to rest and relax before returning home. A couple days enjoying all that Hawaii has to offer is a fitting conclusion to (the) deployment.”
“We expect thousands of sailors to do their holiday shopping here in Hawaii this weekend, and we look forward to welcoming them to the Aloha state,” said Bill Doughty, deputy director of public affairs for Navy Region Hawaii.
Arriving Sunday, meanwhile, will be the littoral combat ship USS Coronado for a final port call on the voyage back to its homeport in San Diego, the Navy said.
Coronado conducted exercises with 16 regional partner nations, participated in 11 multilateral and bilateral exercises and made 10 strategic port visits in the Western Pacific, the Navy said. Among its accomplishments, the Coronado conducted a successful Harpoon surface-to-surface missile engagement while operating with the Singaporean Navy during the Pacific Griffin exercise.
Coronado is the fourth littoral combat ship and second of the Independence-variant with high speed and a shallow draft designed for littoral, or near-shore, and open ocean operations.