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    HomeMilitaryU.S. Navy Extends Eisenhower Carrier Group's Red Sea Deployment Amid Houthi Threats

    U.S. Navy Extends Eisenhower Carrier Group’s Red Sea Deployment Amid Houthi Threats

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    The U.S. Navy’s USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier strike group will remain in the volatile waters of the Red Sea longer than initially planned due to ongoing threats from Houthi rebels.

    Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has extended the deployment for at least another month, underscoring the carrier group’s crucial role in maintaining regional stability and protecting vital maritime trade routes.

    The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), background, steams alongside the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) after arriving in the Red Sea to begin its deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of operations Oct. 31, 2006. Eisenhower and Enterprise are on a six-month deployment in support of maritime security operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Rob Gaston) (Released)

    Comprising approximately 6,000 sailors aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the cruiser USS Philippine Sea, and the destroyers USS Gravely and USS Mason, the carrier strike group has been essential in countering threats from the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.

    Their presence has been pivotal in safeguarding military and commercial vessels navigating the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, a critical passage for about 12% of global trade, including vital commodities like oil, natural gas, and grains.

    In light of Houthi attacks which began in November ostensibly as a means to force Israel to cease its offensive in the Gaza Strip, the carrier strike group has engaged in decisive actions.

    These include targeting the militant group’s drones, missile launchers, and other facilities.

    000801-N-7750C-001
    ABOARD THE USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER CVN-69 (01 Aug, 2000) While completing their six month deployment and transiting westward towards the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean, the crew of the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN-69), display their teamwork and pride by strategically falling into ranks to spell out their name and accomplishments for a awesome aerial photograph. The IKE, and CARRIER AIRWING SEVEN are currently heading west toward the Atlantic after completing a successful six month deployment to the Med and Arabian Gulf. (Photo taken by Photographers Mate 2nd Class David E. Carter II; caption written by Seaman Pauly Soto)

    The group’s persistent aggressions have prompted the Navy to spearhead Operation Prosperity Guardian, a multinational mission dedicated to ensuring security and the freedom of navigation in the region.

    The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), background, steams alongside the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) after arriving in the Red Sea to begin its deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of operations Oct. 31, 2006. Eisenhower and Enterprise are on a six-month deployment in support of maritime security operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Rob Gaston) (Released)

    The extension means a significant deviation from the norm, as ship deployments traditionally last around seven months.

    100908-D-4748B-024
    PORTSMOUTH, Va. (Sept. 8, 2010) Tugboats guide the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) on the Elizabeth River to its new berth at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Dwight D. Eisenhower will begin a six-month Planned Incremental Availability in October to refurbish and conduct intensive maintenance on shipboard systems. Dwight D. Eisenhower recently completed a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

    The Eisenhower and its accompanying vessels departed their homeport of Norfolk, Virginia, in October and have already undergone one previous extension.

    U.S. Central Command officials have staunchly advocated for the carrier’s extended stay, citing it as a critical deterrent not only to the Houthis but also as a signal against potential aggression from Iran.

    090321-N-1117B-294
    ARABIAN SEA (March 21, 2007) The aircraft Carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower conducts its first day of flight operations supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is underway for a scheduled deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christopher Baker/Released)

    The importance of carrier-based aviation in the region cannot be overstated; the Eisenhower’s Air Wing has clocked over 27,200 flight hours and launched more than 350 air-to-surface weapons and over 50 air-to-air missiles, according to Lt. Cmdr. Lauren Chatmas.

    The absence of the carrier would leave a significant gap, compelling commanders to rely more on land-based aircraft or warships without fighter jets to counteract Houthi attacks.

    USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)” by Tobyotter is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    These robust efforts have not gone unnoticed. The Eisenhower strike group, in collaboration with British forces, has undertaken major joint missions that have successfully targeted dozens of Houthi drones and missile launchers.

    USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69 transits to Norfolk Naval Shipyard.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    This operational success is crucial to maintaining the safety of the strategic transit route that links the Suez Canal to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

    Relevant articles:
    Pentagon chief extends deployment of aircraft carrier, ships in the Red Sea as Houthi attacks go on , ABC News, 06/05/2024
    Navy’s Eisenhower carrier group’s deployment in the Red Sea extended, Task & Purpose, 06/02/2024
    Eisenhower carrier strike group deployment extended, NavyTimes.com, 06/02/2024
    Navy Shakes Up Commanders’ Merit Promotions, Military.com, 06/03/2024

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