The Mighty Ike Has Entered the Mediterranean Sea – Part of the Largest Collection of U.S. Warships in the Region in Decades: The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKECSG) is now sailing in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea after transiting the Strait of Gibraltar over the weekend. By direction of the Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, IKECSG will transit to U.S. Central Command to demonstrate its readiness to flex to any contingency, the U.S. Navy announced this week.
“Our arrival in the Mediterranean, en route to CENTCOM, provides reassurance to our allies and partners that we are committed to ensuring their security and well-being,” said Rear Adm. Marc Miguez, commander, Carrier Strike Group 2 (CSG-2), IKECSG. “Our presence, along with that of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier strike group, demonstrates the combat power and proficiency of the Navy’s deployed forces.”
The strike group is comprised of the flagship aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN69), the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), the guided-missile destroyers USS Mason (DDG 87) and USS Gravely (DDG 107) of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 with its nine squadrons, and the Information Warfare Commander.
Deterring Threats in the Middle East
The Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier departed Norfolk, Virginia, on Oct. 14, and was initially believed to be heading into a deployment in the waters of U.S. European Command to replace the carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) and its strike group as part of a scheduled deployment.
However, the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel, which was carried out by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, led to fears that the conflict could engulf the region. As a result, CVN-78 will remain on station in the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Israel.
The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, with the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan’s ready group, is also on station nearby, the Navy Times reported. USS Bataan (LHD-5) and USS Carter Hall (LSD-50) entered the Red Sea from the Gulf of Aden on Friday and joined USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19). The 26th MEU is based in North Carolina and includes the command element; the aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron, 162 (Reinforced); the ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 1/6; and the logistics combat element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22. The Marines aboard the vessels are trained to evacuate civilians in conflict zones.
Show Of Force
The massing of the vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean will be the largest collection of U.S. warships in decades, according to USNI News.
The added U.S. Navy presence is to deter a potential escalation of the Israel-Hamas War from Iran, as well as its proxy forces in the region but is also to prevent further attacks against U.S. forces that are now stationed in Syria and Iraq.
Headed Back to the Gulf
The current plan from the Pentagon calls for IKECSG to move through the Suez Canel into the U.S. 5th Fleet region of operations.
It will be the first time a U.S. carrier strike group will operate in the Middle East since USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) left the region following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.
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A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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