Ike switches fleets to spread USN presence

USS Eisenhower
An F/A-18 Hornet prepares for launch from the carrier USS Eisenhower during operations in the Red Sea. Across a deployment on station lasting almost five months to date, the Eisenhower CSG has conducted operations in the Northern Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The US Navy’s (USN’s) USS Dwight D Eisenhower carrier strike group (CSG) has deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, within US 6th Fleet’s area of responsibility (AOR), having spent more than five months operating across the northern Indian Ocean within US 5th Fleet’s AOR.

In a deployment shift announced in advance by the US Department of Defense, the CSG arrived on station in the Eastern Mediterranean on 26 April.

The CSG consists of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower, with Carrier Air Wing 3 embarked; the DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Gravely and USS Mason; and the CG 47 Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Philippine Sea.

The CSG originally arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean in early November 2023, having sailed from its Norfolk, Virginia and Mayport, Florida home bases in mid-October on what was a scheduled deployment. On arrival in the Eastern Mediterranean, the CSG continued straight through the Suez Canal.

At that time, two USN carriers were required to be forward deployed, to help contain escalation risk in the Israel-Hamas war, which broke out on 7 October. The USS Gerald R Ford CSG was already on station in the Eastern Mediterranean, so the Eisenhower CSG headed for US 5th Fleet’s AOR.

In mid-November, the Red Sea shipping crisis erupted. The Eisenhower CSG sailed from the Northern Arabian Sea back to the Gulf of Aden, where the carrier’s airwing and the CSG itself – notably Gravely and Mason – conducted extensive and extended combat operations to counter attacks by Yemen-based Ansar Allah (Houthi) rebels on commercial and naval shipping sailing in the Gulf of Aden/Bab-el-Mandeb/Red Sea corridor.

Throughout the deployment, the Eisenhower CSG has demonstrated capacity to switch seamlessly between geographic regions and geostrategic circumstances, bringing its various capabilities to bear as and where required.

“The Eisenhower CSG has delivered exceptional naval power in the US 5th Fleet [AOR] for the last five months,” Rear Admiral Marc Miguez, Commander Eisenhower CSG (CSG 2), said in a US 6th Fleet statement. “Re-entry into the US 6th Fleet [AOR] is only a small gesture of our ability to project combat superiority to any part of the globe.”

The Ford CSG returned home in early January.

by Dr. Lee Willett, London