10/04/2016: As James Gigliotti, now the F-35C Navy Program Manager at Lockheed Martin and previously commander of the Aircraft Carrier USS Harry Truman, put it:
“One has to understand that distributed operations have always been crucial to carrier operations. In what we used to call “chain saw”, F-14s would operate at the outer edge of the Carrier Battle Group (now Carrier Strike Groups or CSGs) and provide initial carrier defense capabilities for the battle group.
When Aegis ships and newer, better surface-to-air missiles came to the fleet we began to morph how we conducted such operations, but it was distributed operations none the less.
For strike operations against land-based targets, there was dedicated level of coordination that took place in the 90s in which Tomahawk missiles and Carrier-based aircraft were folded into complex, integrated operations.
Witness what happened during and after Desert Storm. The strike group was widely separated in order to best place ships and aircraft for most effective employment. The only time the various ships in the carrier battle group were together in one place was for the photo op.”
In this video you see such a photo op.
PHILIPPINE SEA (Sept. 23, 2016)
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) lead a formation of Carrier Strike Group Five and Expeditionary Strike Group Seven ships including, USS Momsen (DDG 92), USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), USS Stethem (DDG 63), USS Benfold (DDG 65), USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS Germantown (LSD 42), USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Green Bay (LPD 20), USS McCampbell (DDG 85), as well as USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO 193) during a photo exercise to signify the completion of Valiant Shield 2016.
Valiant Shield is a biennial, U.S. only, field-training exercise with a focus on integration of joint training among U.S. forces. This is the sixth exercise in the Valiant Shield series that began in 2006.
Video by Petty Officer 1st Class Elijah Leinaar
Commander, Task Force 70 / Carrier Strike Group 5:09.23.2016