‘Stepping up the fight’: US Navy aircraft carrier heads to Middle East to battle ISIS
The vessel, along with its airwing and escorts, headed out on its long journey across the Atlantic and beyond from Norfolk, Virginia.
“The Dwight David Eisenhower Strike Group deploys to relieve the Harry S. Truman Strike Group and will be supporting air strikes against ISIS, answering the nation’s call and stepping up the fight,” said Admiral Phil Davidson, the head of Fleet Forces Command, as reported by the Navy Times.
The aircraft carrier nicknamed ‘Ike’ was supposed to have set sail back in November, but its departure was delayed, and the Harry S. Truman headed out in its place. The Ike was undergoing various repair work, which took almost two years to complete.
However, there have been allegations that the USS Eisenhower “cannibalized” spare parts from other ships to make those repairs, with Captain Scott Robertson complaining that 13 mission-essential parts were taken from his ship, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy.
Meanwhile, Captain Gregory McRae, a submarine squadron commander, maintained that “cannibalizing” parts is not a rare last-resort move, but something the Navy resorts to on a regular basis.
“If a part fails on a unit that’s operational, we look in the supply system, and the supply system says, either there no parts available at all, or parts are not going to be available for a few months,” McRae said, according to the publication Military.
The Harry S. Truman had an eventful time during its mission. The US Navy released a video in January purportedly showing the Iranian Navy firing unguided rockets not far from the aircraft carrier in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
Following the long delay, the Dwight D. Eisenhower is finally heading out to relieve the Truman. The Ike Strike group is being commanded by Rear Admiral Jesse Wilson, who has been in the job for around six months. The surface warfare officer says the crew is raring to go.
“I took over on 1 December and since then we have been doing nothing but train for this day,” said Wilson, according to the Navy Times. “Right now, there couldn’t be a more motivated group than the Ike Strike Group.”
The vast majority of the aircraft carrier’s operations will be carried out from the air. However, the mission will also attempt to showcase how the US Navy can use energy saving initiatives to lower its dependence on foreign oil supplies. The Ike will be running on a biofuel mixture of petroleum and beef fat.
The aircraft carrier will be escorted by two cruisers, the San Jacinto and Monterey, along with two destroyers, the Mason and Nitze.