USS Makin Island (LHD-8) left the Persian Gulf on Thursday after more than a month of operations, Navy officials confirmed to USNI News.
Amphibious assault ship Makin Island, expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3) and USNS Carl Brashear (T-AKE-7) conducted an outbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz, a U.S. 5th Fleet spokesman told USNI News on Friday. Makin Island was accompanied by guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG-73) during the transit, according to ship spotters.
The big-deck amphibious warship entered the Persian Gulf on Feb. 8 along with elements of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Embarked on Makin Island is a detachment of Marine F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced). According to 5th Fleet, the air detachment supported the Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Enduring Freedom, but the fleet did not specify if the F-35Bs conducted strike operations. While in the Persian Gulf, Makin Island made a port visit to Manama, Bahrain, from Feb. 15 to 21.
The ARG — Makin Island, USS Somerset (LPD-25) and USS San Diego (LPD-22) — departed the West Coast in October with the 15th MEU. The ARG operated in the Western Pacific and then off Eastern Africa in support Operation Octave Quartz, the named operation to reposition about 700 U.S. troops from Somalia to other parts of Africa.
Makin Island has been the lone capital ship in U.S. Central Command since USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and its escorts left the Middle East in late January. From May 2019 until the end of the Trump administration, the U.S. had a carrier operating in CENTCOM on a near continuous basis.
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) and its escorts are operating in the Mediterranean Sea and it’s unclear if they will move into U.S. Central Command.
Eisenhower began its deployment last month.