By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Trevor Welsh, Commander, Task Force 70 Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 celebrated their 70th anniversary with a cake cutting celebration and observance in the flag mess aboard the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) ported in Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, April 21.
CSG 5 was founded April 25, 1944 under Rear Adm. Frank Wagner in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii as Carrier Division 5 with USS Wasp (CV 18) and USS Hornet. (CV 12)
“What is unique about Carrier Strike Group 5 and its 70th anniversary is that is parallels the 70 years that the United States has been providing peace and prosperity in the Pacific,” said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet.
Forward-deployed U.S. naval forces are maintained at a high state of operational, material and personnel readiness in order to be flexible and responsive to address a crisis situation requiring military support. According to Montgomery, those Forces continuously stationed forward provide increased operational responsiveness for crisis and strengthening partnerships with treaty-bound allies and help shape the operational environment during the steady-state operations.
“The United States Navy is part of the president’s policy of strategic rebalancing in the Pacific,” said Montgomery. “As part of this, the U.S. has had a growing number of surface combatants rotationally deploying to join forward-deployed forces allowing increased capability and capacity in the Western Pacific,” he said. “It is a true sign to the United States’ commitment to Asia and the president’s commitment to a strategic rebalancing of our effort and forces in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.”
Carrier Division 5, known as CSG 5 today, conducted 14 months of sustained combat operations during World War II under the command of Rear Adm. J.J. Clark. Following World War II, Carrier Division 5 remained forward participating in the Korean and Vietnam Wars as Commander, Task Force (CTF) 77 where they were mostly home-ported at Naval Air Station Cubi Point, Philippines. Carrier Division 5 became Carrier Group 5 June 30, 1973 and embarked as the first Yokosuka based aircraft carrier, USS Midway (CV 41) in October 1973.
Today, CSG 5 is embarked on George Washington and includes Carrier Air Wing 5, Aegis Cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67), USS Antietam (CG 54) and Destroyer Squadron 15. Together, these units form the U.S. Navy’s only continuously forward deployed (and largest) carrier strike group in the U.S. 7th Fleet.