The carrier Harry S. Truman and four of its escort ships are set to depart Norfolk Monday for missions in the Mediterranean and Middle East, which has been without a carrier for a month amid war strikes on the so-called Islamic State group militants.
Carrier Strike Group Eight, led by aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman and embarked Carrier Air Wing Seven — along with four surface escorts — including over 5,000 sailors — is slated to deploy Nov. 16 for operations in the Mediterranean and Middle East.
U.S. Fleet Forces Command formally announced the departure Nov. 13 in a press release.
The deployment marks the end of an expedited year of compressed maintenance and work-ups training schedules to get the flattopcarrier turned around and headed to 5th and 6th Fleets in place of the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower. again headed to the tip of the Navy’s spear.
Truman and the embarked Carrier Air Wing 7 departs Norfolk with with the guided-missile cruiser Anzio and guided-missile destroyers Bulkeley, Gravely and Gonzalez. The crews went through shortened work-ups so they could sail for 5th Fleet and minimize the length of time 5th Fleet would lack a flattop.
Truman returned from her last deployment on April 18, 2014, and wasn’t slated to deploy until sometime in mid-2016. All that changedsa few months later when Navy officials in October 2014 when fleet bosses announced that the Truman would deploy again in the fall of 2015, due to unforeseen delays fixing the Ike. nearly half a year ahead of schedule.
Officials decided to swap Truman with the carrier Eisenhower after The Ike had to extend its a long yard period even further after completing a grueling double-pump set of back-to-back deployments — from June 2012 to December 2012 and again from February 2013 to July 2013 — that caused more maintenance than expected.
A year ago, November entered a curtailed availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the first performed there.
The availability started last November and was expected to last 15 weeks and require 78,000 man-days, but nearly doubled to more than 28 weeks and 135,000 man-days due to a need for additional work.
The expedited schedule left Truman with about half the training days allotted to carrier crews before its upcoming deployment, which officials say is still on track.
The formal departure was announced by Fleet Forces Command in a press release FridayNov. 15, which also stated that the guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage would also depart Norfolk on Monday for an eight-month, independent ballistic missile defense deployment. Ramage will support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility the release said.
Staff Writer Lance M. Bacon contributed to this report.