NAVY WIRE SERVICE (NWS) - February 22, 2000 - NWS22feb-4. Eisenhower Battle Group, Wasp ARG deploy NWS22feb-4. Eisenhower Battle Group, Wasp ARG deploy By Second Fleet PAO NORFOLK, Va. (NWS) -- The ships and squadrons of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Carrier Battle Group began a scheduled six-month deployment Feb. 18. About 15,000 Sailors and Marines are deploying to relieve the USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) Battle Group. The battle group has spent months preparing for this deployment, participating in a series of increasingly demanding exercises and operations. The training culminated in Joint Task Force Exercise 00-1 held in December. "The pace of the work-ups have been hectic," said Capt. Denby Starling, the carrier's commanding officer. "But Ike's Sailors, as always, have come through with flying colors. We're ready for deployment and eager to put our training into practice." In addition to Eisenhower and Carrier Air Wing 7, deploying ships include USS Anzio (CG 68), USS Kauffman (FFG 59), USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58), USS Laboon (DDG 58), USS Mahan (DDG 72), USS Cape St. George (CG 71), USS Hartford (SSN 768), USS Springfield (SSN 761), USNS Kanawha (T-AO 96), and USNS Mount Baker (T-AE 34). The USS Wasp (LHA 1) Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) deployed Friday. The ARG is composed of Wasp, USS Trenton (LPD 14), and USS Oak Hill (LSD 51). During the next six months, battle group ships will conduct joint operations with the navies of various European countries, and visit ports in various Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf nations. The ships and squadrons are scheduled to return home in August. For a list of ships' web sites, go to -USN- -USN- -USN-