Ships Join US Show of Force in the Mediterranean
Bataan Amphibious Ready Group Among Naval Destroyers Sent
In a bid to strengthen US force posture and deter potential adversaries, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has announced the extension of the deployment of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, USNI reported on October 17.
Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh confirmed the news during a press briefing on Tuesday. Additionally, Austin has ordered Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to be relocated closer to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) and its accompanying escorts have been operating in the Eastern Mediterranean since last week. This deployment comes as a response to the recent Hamas attacks in southern Israel. Singh explained that the presence of the carrier strike group serves as a message of deterrence to potential aggressors.
The USS Ford was initially deployed in May and has been actively involved in U.S. presence operations in the Mediterranean Sea. This mission aims to deter Russia from further escalating the conflict in Ukraine.
Originally, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (CSG) was scheduled to relieve the USS Ford. However, with the recent extension, both strike groups will now operate concurrently in the Mediterranean Sea. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) and its escorts departed Naval Station Norfolk, Va., on Saturday.
Secretary Austin emphasized that these increased deployments demonstrate the unwavering commitment of the United States to Israel's security. He stated in a Saturday press release, "The increases to U.S. force posture signal the United States' ironclad commitment to Israel's security and our resolve to deter any state or non-state actor seeking to escalate this war."
Furthermore, spokesperson Singh confirmed that elements of the 26th MEU would be moved closer to Israel. However, she clarified that these Marines currently do not have specific orders and their deployment would be at the discretion of the secretary and the president. This strategic positioning reinforces the United States' readiness to support Israel if the need arises.
In addition to the carrier strike group and the Marines, the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) is also playing a vital role in the region. The group comprises the USS Bataan (LHD-5) and the USS Carter Hall (LSD-50), operating together in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, the USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) had been involved in operations in the Mediterranean. Over the weekend, the Bataan and Carter Hall departed the Persian Gulf and are currently operating in the Gulf of Oman, according to the USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker.
The United States remains committed to maintaining a robust presence in the Mediterranean Sea and the wider region. These strategic deployments highlight the nation's determination to protect its allies, ensure regional stability, and deter any potential escalations. As the situation continues to evolve, the United States stands ready to adapt and respond accordingly, safeguarding its interests and those of its partners.