The 10th strike group of the US Navy and the Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier are returning from the Middle East to the US, a statement of US Navy reads. The group also includes the San Jacinto guided missile cruiser, as well as destroyers Mason and Nitze. In the near future, they will arrive at the base in Norfolk (Virginia).
“More than 6,000 Sailors from Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10 are scheduled to arrive at their homeports Dec. 30 after completing a highly successful seven-month deployment,” the statement reads.
Being deployed in the Middle East, the vessels supported Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria, as well as operations in Libya and South Sudan.
“While deployed, the strike group performed admirably in the 5th [the Middle East] and 6th [Europe] US Fleet areas of operations while providing maritime security, conducting combat missions and launching F/A-18 strikes against ISIL [the Islamic State terrorist group] in Syria and Iraq,” the US Navy noted.
As the DefenseNews news portal reported, “US carrier groups regularly relieve each other in theater, often handing off duties within sight of the other in the Persian Gulf or Arabian Sea. But this time, no carrier is in the Eisenhower’s wake.” This means that there will be no US aircraft carrier or US Navy strike group in the Middle East now.
Reportedly, the Eisenhower had to be replaced by the George H. W. Bush aircraft carrier, but the vessel has not yet left Norfolk, and, according to a Navy source of DefenseNews, most likely, it will not do so before the inauguration of the Trump administration on January 20. As the sources said, the gap between the time, when the Eisenhower left the area and the Bush arrives, could last as long as two months, as a planned six-month repair period of the Bush, which entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia in mid-June 2015, dragged on well past the March completion date.