Commander, Carrier Strike Group SEVEN, home ported at Naval Air Station, North Island, Naval Base Coronado, California, is under the administrative and operational control of designated Fleet and Task Force Commanders of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Established on 22 March 1956 at Naval Air Station Alameda, California, as Commander, Carrier Division SEVEN, the command first deployed to the Western Pacific Ocean onboard USS BON HOMME RICHARDE (CVA31) in 1957.
Commander, Carrier Strike Group SEVEN has been commanded by 36 Rear Admirals and two Captains. The command has completed 34 deployments to the Western Pacific Ocean and Arabian Gulf embarked in 20 Aircraft Carriers, including KEARSARGE, HANCOCK, SHANGRI-LA, LEXINGTON, RANGER, TICONDEROGA, ORISKANY, KITTY HAWK, CONSTELLATION, MIDWAY, CORAL SEA, SARATOGA, AMERICA, ENTERPRISE, NIMITZ, JOHN C. STENNIS, and RONALD REAGAN.
While home ported at Naval Air Station, North Island, Naval Base Coronado, California, Commander, Carrier Strike Group SEVEN is under the operational and administrative command of Commander, THIRD Fleet. During deployment with an assigned Strike Group, operational control is transferred to other fleet commanders depending upon the area of operation. Inheritor of a proud tradition, Commander, Carrier Strike Group SEVEN is as ready today as it was at its founding to meet the challenges ahead.
The Legend of the CARGRU 7 Axe
The origins of this mighty instrument lie deep in Greek history. When peace had finally fallen upon their ravaged land, the brave sailors of the Trojan fleet gathered their worn swords and beat them into plowshares. Yet they also sought some means of honoring their fallen compatriots. Consequently, a few of the remaining spears and shields were smelted in the hottest furnaces of Troy, tempered by the most skilled craftsman, and cast into an axe head of epic proportions. A call then went forth upon the land to locate a sturdy oak which might be formed into a handle for this sacred memorial. After days of searching, a young woodsman located just such a tree deep in the virgin forests in which he plied his trade. From that tree he hewed a shaft of incredible strength, and with a warm, luxuriant finish. This powerful handle was soon joined with the mighty axe head to form a moving testament to those Trojans who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
The "Trojan Blade" (as it had come to be called), was soon coveted by the emerging nations of a growing civilization, and possession of it was the cause of many a pitched battle around the world over the following years. Historians are unable to trace its exact path during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its colorful tale is picked up once again in 1853, when the Emperor of Japan presented it to Commodore Matthew C. Perry to honor him on the occasion of his opening of the Meiji Empire to the rest of the world. Since that time, this fabulous trophy has remained in the possession of the U.S. Navy and has been carried into battle by some of its most distinguished commanders.
Its home with the Pacific Fleet was established during the fighting in that theater during World War II; ADM "Bull" Halsey credited his success against Yamamoto's navy to the spiritual strength that he was able to draw from the "Trojan Blade". He subsequently refused to see it transferred from the Pacific and there it remains, now by direction of the CNO. In April 1956, RADM Lester K. Rice took command of Carrier Division Seven, and was presented the "Trojan Blade" by ADM Halsey in recognition of that auspicious occasion. Ever since, the spiritual fire that Halsey found so vital has similarly inspired the leaders of the finest carrier group in the U.S. Navy. The names Clifton, Hardisty, and Arthur are proudly emblazoned upon the tremendous axe as evidence of the great hands through which it has passed.
This mighty axe - born of fire and tested by battle - remains with Carrier Strike Group Seven today. A strong testament to those men who, over the centuries, have given their lives in defense of principles they held dear.