By Debbie Gregory.
The Norfolk-based Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, currently in the Arabian Gulf, is launching airstrikes against Islamic State (IS or ISIS) terrorists, according to the Navy.
The strike group includes guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio and guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley, USS Gravely and USS Gonzalez.
The carrier and its crew of approximately 6,000 sailors left Naval Station Norfolk November 16th, on what’s expected to be a seven-month deployment, filling a U.S. carrier absence in the Middle East.
The Truman joins the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier FS Charles De Gaulle for combined combat operations in Iraq and Syria, the Navy said. France has been an active member of the U.S.-led coalition force since ISIS claimed credit for the attacks in its capital city November 16th.
Originally, the Truman was set to deploy in 2016, but the Navy had it switch deployments with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike), which needed additional time in the shipyard. Ike had a record-setting, 23-month yard period after back-to-back deployments from June 2012 to December 2012, and from February 2013 to July 2013, causing more maintenance than expected.
The Truman provides a wide range of flexible mission capabilities, including maritime security operations, expeditionary power projection, forward naval presence, crisis response, sea control, deterrence, counter-terrorism, information operations and security cooperation. The ship’s embarked air wing is capable of projecting tactical air power over the sea and inland, as well as providing sea based air, surface and subsurface defense capabilities.
The ship’s crew keeps up a lively presence on social media, posting pictures on their Facebook page to keep loved ones up to date with their activities. While it must have been difficult to have them gone for the holidays, there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 holiday pictures featuring hundreds of crew members in the “Happy Holidays” photo album.
“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand. ”
-President Harry S. Truman
Give ‘Em Hell!