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Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group Arrives in Mediterranean

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group arrived in the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday after passing through the Strait of Gibraltar on its way to the Middle East.

The carrier strike group’s passage into the wider region comes as the U.S. works to stabilize the Middle East while it supports Israel and protects American service members under attack in Iraq and Syria, according to the Pentagon.

Eisenhower’s entrance into the Mediterranean was documented by ship watchers and open-source intelligence analysts on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

“USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Nimitz-class aircraft carrier eastbound in the Strait of Gibraltar – October 28, 2023,” posted @WarshipCam, along with several photos of the carrier and destroyers USS Gravely and USS Mason.

Some of those analysts also noted the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, including the dock landing ship USS Carter Hall, and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit had moved into the Red Sea on Friday.

“The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, consisting of the USS Bataan (LHD-5), USS Carter Hall (LSD-50), and approximately 2,500 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, entered the Red Sea on October 27th, heading toward waters near Israel, posted @DuanDang on Friday along with satellite images of the group.

U.S. 6th Fleet did not respond Saturday to an email from Stars and Stripes seeking to confirm the arrival of the Eisenhower group. The Defense Department referred queries about the Bataan ARG/26th MEU to U.S. Central Command, which also did not respond Saturday.

Citing operational security concerns, the Navy typically does not offer information about the specific location of its ships. However, a carrier’s arrival into a region, along with port visits and other activities, often is announced.

Last week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered Eisenhower to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet AOR includes the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and portions of the Indian Ocean.

That move came after increasing attacks by Iranian-backed terrorist groups on American bases in Iraq and Syria, and the destroyer USS Carney shot down missiles and drones launched by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Eisenhower departed its homeport in Norfolk, Va. Oct. 14, part of a scheduled deployment, presumably to relieve the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, already on duty in the Mediterranean.

But days after Hamas militants killed 1,400 civilians in Israel, the Ford and Eisenhower were ordered to the eastern Mediterranean. Ford’s six-month deployment was extended.

On Thursday, 900 U.S. troops received orders to deploy to the region, as part of a plan to send a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery along with Patriot and Avenger batteries to the Middle East.

That same day the DOD announced retaliatory airstrikes on two sites in eastern Syria linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Since Oct. 17, Iranian-backed terrorist groups have conducted 16 missile or drone attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria that slightly injured 21 service members.

An American contractor suffered a heart attack and died while sheltering in place during one attack, the Pentagon said.

The Eisenhower group also includes the cruiser USS Philippine Sea and Carrier Air Wing 3. The Italian frigate ITS Virginio Fasan, already on duty in the Mediterranean, also will join the group as part of a planned deployment.

Source: Stripes