The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its strike group have arrived in the Persian Gulf to participate in Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
USNI News quotes Secretary of Defense James Mattis explaining that ISIS may be greatly diminished, but the U.S. military’s mission is far from over.
“ISIS—anyone who thinks they’re down is premature,” Mattis remarked last week, as U.S. coalition forces carried out over forty precision strikes against Islamic State positions.
USNI News provides an impressive list of assets involved in the strike group:
The Roosevelt CSG left San Diego in October, and includes 7,500 sailors and Marines aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG-52), and guided missile destroyers USS Halsey (DDG-97), USS Preble (DDG-88), and USS Sampson (DDG-102) which is operating outside the Persian Gulf, but still part of CSG, according to a Navy spokesperson.
The carrier strike group includes Carrier Air Wing 17 and nine squadrons and detachments: the “Stingers” of Strike Fighter Squadron 113, the “Mighty Shrikes” of VFA-94 and the “Redcocks” of VFA-22, all based at Lemoore Naval Air Station, Calif.; the “Checkerboards” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 from Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station, S.C.; the “Cougars” of Electronic Attack Squadron 139 from Whidbey Island, Wash.; the “Sun Kings” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 116 from Point Mugu Naval Air Station, Calif.; and the “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30, the “Indians” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 6, and the “Battlecats” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 73, all based at North Island, according to a statement released by the Navy.
The Navy added that an amphibious assault group and a Marine Expeditionary Unit are also operating in the Persian Gulf, but their activities are not related to Roosevelt’s mission.
In early November, the Roosevelt participated in a rare exercise with two other U.S. carriers, USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan, in the Sea of Japan.
“Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region,” U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift said at the time. Not coincidentally, North Korea had a good view of the extremely impressive three-carrier exercise.
Iran’s newly appointed naval commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi recently vowed that the Iranian Navy will “soon go to the Atlantic Ocean, visit some South American countries, and wave the Iranian flag in the Gulf of Mexico.” He implied that both surface vessels and submarines would be involved in these exercises.