Jul 23 2013, 4:12am CDT | by IANS
"The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is ready to deploy," Xinhua quoted Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney, commander of the carrier strike group, as saying in a statement.
The strike group consists of approximately 6,000 sailors and Marines. Besides the USS Truman, it includes the destroyers USS Bulkeley and USS Mason, and the cruiser USS San Jacinto.
Carrier Air Wing 3 will be embarked onboard the Truman with three strike fighter squadrons, a Marine fighter attack squadron, airborne early warning aircraft, electronic attack aircraft and two helicopter squadrons.
They were scheduled to leave Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia Monday for an eight-to-nine month tour of duty in the Fifth and Sixth Fleet areas, which means Middle East, Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic.
In addition, the guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg will deploy from Naval Station Mayport in Florida.
The newly deployed carrier does not mean the US Navy will go back to fielding two carriers in the Gulf.
The decision to forgo a second carrier next year came as Greenert reported an increase in piracy in the Gulf of Oman over the last eight months.
Greenert said he has seen no evidence that the reduced carrier presence has altered the activity of the Iranian Navy.
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