U.S. Truman Carrier Strike Group to deploy in Mediterranean, M.East

The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group and its nearly 6,500 sailors will reportedly leave Norfolk and head to the eastern Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday, amid mounting tension in the region following the suspected poison gas attack in a Syrian rebel-held town of Douma, east of Damascus,

Following the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria on Saturday, an intervention against the Assad regime, which is held responsible for the attack by the Western bloc, is on the desk of the United States President Donald Trump.

American warships at the moment in the Eastern Mediterranean might be inadequate for a comprehensive intervention into Syria. According to open sources, only the USS Donald Cook is in the region, while another 3 warships of the Sixth Fleet are in the Atlantic Ocean. The USS Donald Cook left Cyproit port of Larnaca.

''The Harry S. Truman, which is assigned to the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command, last traveled to the Middle East in 2015 to join the anti-Islamic State mission Operation Inherent Resolve before returning home in 2016.'' Stars and Stripes reported.

Prior to a comprehensive intervention, the United States and its allies are expected to increase their naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. In this context, it is reported that the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group and its nearly 6,500 sailors will leave Norfolk and will head to the Middle East and Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday for “a regularly scheduled deployment”. 

The strike group consists of five U.S. warships equipped with Tomahawk missiles as well as the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. Warships in group are the Ticonderago class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy, the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyers USS Arleigh Burke, USS Bulkeley, USS Forrest Sherman and USS Farragut. 

The German frigate FGS Hessen will also operate as part of the strike group during the first half of the deployment.

The distance from Norfolk to Syria is almost 6,000 miles. This means that it will take two to three weeks for these warships to reach the Eastern Mediterranean. 

When the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group reaches the area of responsibility of Sixth Fleet, the number of warships equipped with Tomahawk missiles available to the fleet will rise to nine. A total of 59 Tomahawk missiles were fired at a Syrian air base from two U.S. destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean a year ago, after Trump ordered a strike to retaliate for another chemical wepaons attack in Khan Shaykhoun.