The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (CSG-9) is now in the Persian Gulf, where it is expected to join the ongoing Operation Inherent Resolve fight against ISIS forces.
Recent statements made by the military’s top leadership suggest the Roosevelt CSG’s presence in the region will continue the anti-ISIS missions over Syria and Iraq. The U.S. hasn’t had an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf since USS Nimitz (CVN-68) departed in late October.
Following news reports and Pentagon statements describing a diminished ISIS force in Syria and Iraq earlier this month, Secretary of Defense James Mattis stressed the military’s mission was far from over when asked about a post-Islamic State Syria.
“ISIS – anyone who thinks they’re down is premature,” Mattis said while traveling with the media to Colorado Springs, Colo., before Thanksgiving.
Coalition forces, including the U.S. military, conducted more than 40 precision strikes on Islamic State fighters during the week before Thanksgiving, according to comments made by Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, during a video conference with the media.
“We will continue to deprive ISIS remnants of their resources and safe havens and continue our defeat-ISIS missions so long as they pose a threat,” Dillon said.
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.
Meanwhile, the America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (15th MEU) are also operating in the Persian Gulf, but unrelated to the Roosevelt CSG’s mission, said a Navy spokesperson.
The ARG includes amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6), the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD-22), and the amphibious dock-landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD-52). The America ARG deployed in July, according to a Navy statement.