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Whidbey squadron on board as Stennis sets sail

A squadron of Prowlers from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station is on board the USS John C. Stennis which is scheduled to leave this morning, Jan. 13, from Bremerton for deployment in the western Pacific.

The aircraft carrier should be visible in Admiralty Inlet as it passes Whidbey Island, although the exact time of its departure was not released by the Navy.

The squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 9 and the ships of Destroyer Squadron 21 will join Stennis to form the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG).

Among the aircraft are the VAQ-138 Yellow Jackets, based on Whidbey Island. Prowlers specialize in electronic warfare.

The strike group is prepared to support the war on terror, while improving relations with partner nations throughout the Western Pacific by conducting port visits and joint operations.

"We’ve got enduring partnerships around the world,” said Carrier Strike Group Commander Rear Adm. Mark Vance in a news release. “We want to continue these relationships in the Pacific region and provide safety and security for our nation.”

The United States Maritime Strategy focuses on joint and international partnerships across a range of operations through forward presence, deterrence, freedom of the world’s sea lanes, maritime security and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

“It’s critically important to our economy and our national security to maintain freedom of the high seas,” said Stennis’ Commanding Officer Capt. Joseph Kuzmick. “We look forward to working with our international partners, providing maritime security and stability in the region.”

Carrier Air Wing 9 includes: Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 71, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 8, Strike Fighter Squadron 147, Strike Fighter Squadron 154, Strike Fighter Squadron 146, Marine Strike Fighter Squadron 323, Electronic Warfare Squadron 138, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ) 112 and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30.

Destroyer Squadron 21 includes Arleigh-Burke class destroyers USS Kidd (DDG 100) and USS Preble (DDG 88).

The carrier strike group also includes guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam).

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