A second US carrier strike group has been deployed to the Middle East to enhance the American military’s regional presence amidst the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, as confirmed by US Central Command.
“The strike group is commanded by Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2 and comprised of flagship aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), 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,” Centcom said in a statement.
This comes after the US sent the USS Gerald R. Ford, the world’s largest warship and the Navy’s most advanced aircraft carrier, to the Middle East in a message of support to its long-term ally Israel and a warning to Iran and Tehran-backed Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah.
US senior defense officials said American efforts in the Middle East are “in support of Israel’s right to defend itself from terrorism and to contain the violence,” according to a Defense Department statement at the end of October.
In addition to the two US carrier groups, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also ordered the deployment of a terminal high-altitude area defense battery and additional Patriot battalions to the region. Those assets and personnel aim to enhance US force protection in the region.
Furthermore, “an additional number of forces have been placed on prepare-to-deploy orders to increase their readiness and ensure rapid response if required,” a senior defense official said.
“Our carrier strike groups give us the ability to launch operations independently, anywhere in the world and immediately upon arrival,” the US defense official said. “When we send them somewhere, we are deliberately sending an incredibly strong signal to our adversaries, but also to our allies and partners about the depth of our support, and the ability of the US military to expeditiously, dynamically respond to contingencies anywhere in the world.”
This is a strategic move to show American support “not only to the region, but also to support Israel, and its right to defend itself from the brutal October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks,” the official said.