Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG-103) is off the coast of Sudan following the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum.
Truxtun is operating near Port Sudan, while the U.S. is also sending Expeditionary Sea Base USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3) to the area.
“It will stay there, awaiting further orders should it be needed to support,” Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said of Truxtun on Monday. “Also en route is the USS Puller. So again, those capabilities will be there should we need to use them in support of State Department’s efforts.”
Lewis B. Puller is currently in the Arabian Sea, a defense official told USNI News. Truxtun originally deployed with the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, but has been recently operating in U.S. 5th Fleet. The destroyer transited through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait on April 18.
“The idea here is to have these capabilities offshore, available, should we need, for example, to transport citizens to another location, should we need to provide medical care, those kinds of things. So again, positioning assets to be ready, if asked and if needed,” Ryder told reporters.
On Saturday, the State Department announced it would close and evacuate the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum amid ongoing fighting between Sudanese military leaders. Over the weekend, U.S. special forces evacuated U.S. government personnel from the country using rotary wing assets.
Asked about the lack of nearby U.S. Navy amphibious ships, – which typically perform humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions – Ryder said the destroyer can provide capabilities like transport.
“Right now, to our knowledge, we’re not talking large numbers of Americans looking to come out of Sudan. But again, in the days ahead, we’ll stay closely coordinated with the State Department. They’re in the lead. And we’ll be prepared to support them,” Ryder said.
Ryder said the Pentagon and U.S. Africa Command are helping the State Department coordinate the departure of U.S. citizens from Sudan by supplying intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets that can watch land evacuation routes.
Over the weekend, a State Department official said the U.S. is not currently planning to evacuate U.S. citizens from Sudan.
“We don’t anticipate those security conditions are going to change in the near term, even though we’re going to continue to do everything we can to bring this fighting to a conclusion. But as a result of that uncertain security picture, as a result of the unavailability of the civilian airport, we don’t foresee coordinating a U.S. Government evacuation for our fellow citizens in Sudan at this time or in the coming days,” undersecretary of state for management John Bass said in a briefing.