Excellent footage in this clip



Navy Pilots Flying Dozens of Daily Missions from USS Harry S. Truman






Since December, the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, Carrier Air Wing 1 and its escorts have been operating in the Adriatic and Ionian seas launching 80 to 90 sorties a day as far north as Lithuania for a variety of missions with NATO-allied aircraft from Romania, France and Italy.


Some fighters launched from Truman are training, while some are set to police NATO’s airspace and prevent Russian aircraft from violating those borders.


On Thursday, USNI News spoke with the pilots flying the patrols on NATO’s eastern front about how Truman and its air wing fit in with the larger alliance mission as the war rages in Ukraine.


As part of the Ukrainian invasion, the Russian Navy has massed ships in the Eastern Mediterranean centered on its sole foreign naval base in Tartus, Syria. Those forces include two Slava-class guided-missile cruisers – RTS Marshal Ustinov (055) and RFS Varyag (011) – designed to take on U.S. and NATO aircraft carriers.


The Truman CSG is joined in the Mediterranean by other ships from NATO, including FS Charles De Gaulle (R 91) and the Italian aircraft carrier ITS Cavour (CVH 550). But Russian ships and submarines are also in the area, Del Toro said. Deterring those ships operating in the Eastern Mediterranean are a major part of the Truman CSG’s mission as well as the policing operation over NATO countries in Europe.


The result is the deafening, body-shaking vibrations that are a daily occurrence aboard the flight deck. The carrier’s catapults have been shooting aircraft up to 90 times a day since the strike group got to the Mediterranean.


While Truman is no longer under NATO command, when the aircraft join the policing mission, they are flying a NATO mission, said Capt. Patrick Hourigan, commander of Carrier Air Wing 1, told USNI News.


“It is minimally different. There are very slight changes to the rules of engagement because we operate under NATO rules of engagement versus strictly U.S. rules of engagement. That’s about the only change.”

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