VA - NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group will remain in the Mediterranean longer than seven months after Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin elected to extend its deployment, USNI News has learned.
The strike group, which includes carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), Carrier Air Wing 7 and its escorts, will stay to provide options to policymakers following the recent attacks in Syria, Reuters first reported. A Navy official confirmed the extended deployment to USNI News on Monday.
The Bush CSG deployed to the Mediterranean in August to relieve the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, which had been there since December 2021. The carriers were initially deployed as part of the U.S. response to the Russo-Ukrainian conflict.
U.S. Central Command spokesperson Col. Joe Buccino told Reuters that USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55) and USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119), part of the strike group, are also getting extended.
The Bush carrier strike group has been out for nearly eight months. Any strike group extended past seven months must be approved by the defense secretary.
The Harry S. Truman CSG was out for 285 days or approximately nine months.
The Bush CSG is expected to be relieved by the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, which just returned to port on Sunday, according to ship spotters. Ford left last month on its composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) ahead of the carrier’s first worldwide deployment.
Since December 2021, the U.S. has maintained a persistent carrier presence in the Mediterranean Sea. In the early days of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, the air wing on Truman flew dozens of daily presence operations along NATO’s eastern flank.