Officials: Carrier Truman, French flattop to head to Persian Gulf for ISIS strikes
By David B. Larter
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 20, 2015) An F/A-18E Super Hornet attached to the Pukin’ Dogs of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 143 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is underway participating in a composite training unit exercise in preparation for a future deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class E. T. Miller/Released)
The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is has entered the Mediterranean, on its way to the Persian Gulf to join a the French carrier in war strikes against the so-called Islamic State group militants., but likely won't be launching strikes on the Islamic State group from there, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations.
The French carrier Charles de Gaulle has launched strikes on ISIS from delayed its plans to depart the Eastern Mediterranean, but will soon sail for the Persian Gulf, a French official said, to continue waging war on the brutal terror group, which claimed responsibility for the Nov. 13 Paris terror attacks that killed 130 and left hundreds wounded. as it continues strikes on ISIS targets in Syria, but a French official who spoke to Navy Times on background said that French President François Hollande has confirmed that the de Gaulle will deploy to the Persian Gulf as originally slated prior to the attacks.
The French carrier will soon be joined by the Truman CSG in mid-December in the Persian Gulf. Military planners had weighed keeping the flotilla in the Eastern Med for airstrikes, but decided that the Persian Gulf was a more effective region from which to launch strikes, according to Navy officials. dispatch it to will be in Central Command by mid-December as planned.Military bossescommanders in Europe, the Middle East and at the Pentagon were discussing using Truman in the Med for strikes in Syria in the wake of the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris, but two U.S. officials said
The Truman's deployment comes as the war against ISIS mounts in the wake of the Paris attacks and the bombing of a Russian airliner comes in the wake of ISIS-claimed attacks in Paris that killed 129 people and on a Russian airliner in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula that killed all 224 passengers. It is being closely watched both because of an uncertain security environment but also because the Middle East has been without a U.S. carrier since October, when the carrier Theodore Roosevelt departed CENTCOM for their new San Diego home port.
Officials said it would be easier to manage the airspace over Syria with Truman launching its jets from the Persian Gulf, in addition to the symbolic boostenefit of having a flattop back in the Persian Gulf; U.S. Central Command has been without a carrier since the Theodore Roosevelt left in mid-October.
Truman will be in the Mediterranean for the next several days conducting "theater security operations" with partners in the region, and will likely stop for a port call, said a Navy official who asked for anonymity to discuss future operations. and would likely make a port visit in the Eastern Med, said a Navy official, who spoke on background to discuss future operations.
The Charles de Gaulle is expected to will likely head to the Persian Gulf before Truman, but no announcements have been made by the French government yet.
The Navy's top officer and the master chief petty officer of the Navy visited the Truman over Thanksgiving and praised the group for completing a hurried work-up cycle.
"It is hard to imagine how in-demand you are right now around the world," said Adm. John M. Richardson, chief of naval operations, in a closed-circuit TV address. "It is a completely uncertain world right now. Things are changing by the minute and the challenges you face, the complexity you face, the uncertainty you face, is probably higher than it's been in the past 20-25 years."
About David B. Larter
David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.