Navy Commander Rebecca Rebarich, spokesperson for the US Fifth Fleet, recently confirmed to Stars and Stripes that two F/A-18F Super Hornets of US Navy Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 were deployed from the USS Nimitz on September 23 and performed an airstrike on Daesh targets.
The mission was the service’s first coalition airstrike against Daesh via carrier-launched aircraft in years. “The last such strike was by USS Theodore Roosevelt in [March] 2018,” Rebarich said in a Monday email.
Locked and Loaded #NavyReadiness#USSNimitz (CVN 68) conducts flight operations in support of #OperationInherentResolve. Nimitz, is deployed to the @US5thFleet to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region. pic.twitter.com/y8UwNaLrr6— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) September 23, 2020
OIR spokesperson Army Col. Wayne Marotto stated Thursday that the airstrike was backed by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and conducted on “Daesh hideouts in Wadi Al-Shai, Iraq.” The move destroyed “one cave and three shelters.”
“Daesh operatives will continue to try and take advantage of safe havens; but there is no safe place for terrorists to hide,” he said in a tweet with the hashtag “#defeatdaesh.”
Prior to the Wednesday airstrike in a rural area of the Kirkuk Province, the Fifth Fleet issued a news release announcing CVW 17 would be “providing close air support and defensive counter-air missions to the coalition fight” versus Daesh forces.
“Our support to Operation Inherent Resolve illustrates the critical airpower a carrier strike group can bring to the joint fight,” said Capt. Todd Cimicata, commander of CVW 17, in a quoted statement.
“We are able to conduct training with regional partners and contingency missions unique to this area, showcasing the flexibility and capacity that carriers inherently bring to operations from the sea.”
The release highlighted that the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group initiated air operations in support of OIR on September 18. The Navy has been providing aviation support to OIR via the US Air Force’s Combined Air Operations Center since the formation of the operation’s Combined Joint Task Force in 2014.