USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) is in the Mediterranean Sea, moving toward Turkey in case the country requests additional assistance, Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters Wednesday.
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Turkey early Monday morning, in the Turkish province of Kahramanmaras, according to USA Today. The earthquake and its aftershocks collapsed tons of buildings near the border of Turkey and Syria, with the death toll now at more than 12,000.
The United States is sending a variety of aid to Turkey and Syria, in addition to the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, Ryder said during a Wednesday press conference.
“And on behalf of Secretary Austin and the Department of Defense, we would like to express our sincere condolences to the people of Turkey and Syria and all those impacted for the tragic loss of life and despair resulting from these earthquakes,” Ryder said.”Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they confront the aftermath.”
The United States sent two Urban Search and Rescue teams, which arrived at the Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey on Wednesday, according to a 39th Air Wing news release. The U.S. sent 161 personnel, 12 military working dogs and about 170,000 pounds of equipment as part of the rescue teams departing from Dover Air Base in Delaware.
United States Agency for International Development deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team to lead Washington’s response, according to the release.
George H.W. Bush recently made a port call in Piraeus, Greece, USNI News previously reported. Destroyer USS Nitze (DDG-94), part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, made a port call last week at Gölcük Naval Base.
Nitze departed the Turkish base Wednesday, according to a tweet from Naval Surface Force Atlantic. It is not clear if the ship will be part of any humanitarian efforts.
Elveda Türkiye! 🇹🇷 ⚓
USS Nitze #DDG94 departs Gölcük Naval Base, Turkey, following a port visit. The ship is deployed to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied, and partner interests. pic.twitter.com/9gVV79Y13N
— SURFLANT (@surflant) February 8, 2023