The carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower and her escorts are doing last-minute preps ahead of a planned seven-month deployment that is expected to put them squarely in the middle of fight with the Islamic State group.
Ike, her airwing and escorts will depart Norfolk Jun. 1, and is heading to relieve the carrier Harry S. Truman. Truman's deployment to the Persian Gulf was extended from seven months to eight to support a stepped-up air war in Operation Inherent Resolve, the fight with ISIS, and will return later this spring.
Ike is also the first carrier group slated to deploy under the optimized fleet response plan, a deployment cycle that is meant to give the Navy a little extra time to get its ships maintained and is supposed to get the ships manned up sooner in the deployment cycle.
The group is also deploying as part of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus's "Great Green Fleet" initiative, designed to reduce energy expenditures and costs and make greater use of alternative fuels.