USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Now in the Mediterranean Sea, Bataan ARG in the Red Sea

October 28, 2023 7:43 PM
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) transiting the Strait of Gibraltar on Oct. 28, 2023. US Navy Photo

The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is headed toward the mass of U.S. naval power in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea after transiting the Strait of Gibraltar on Saturday. Meanwhile, two ships of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group are now in the Red Sea.

The Navy confirmed aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) and its escorts made the transit early Saturday via social media.

The Ike Carrier Strike Group, which includes Arleigh Burke–class destroyers USS Gravely (DDG-107) and USS Mason (DDG-87) and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG-58), deployed Oct. 14 with Carrier Air Wing 3 embarked, according to the USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker.

The strike group was first set to operate with USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) and its escorts off the coast of Israel. Ford has been in the Mediterranean since June as part of the U.S. continued presence operation in the region that began in December of 2021 but was moved closer to Israel following the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7.

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) transiting the Strait of Gibraltar on Oct. 28, 2023. US Navy Photo

Meanwhile, USS Bataan (LHD-5) and USS Carter Hall (LSD-50) entered the Red Sea from the Gulf of Aden on Friday, according to ship spotters. The two ship are headed to join amphibious warship USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19). The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit is embarked across the three warships.

The 26th MEU is based in North Carolina and includes the command element; the aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron, 162 (Reinforced); the ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 1/6; and the logistics combat element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22. The Marines aboard are trained to evacuate civilians in conflict zones. USNI News visited the unit in April during a non-combatant evacuation exercise in North Carolina.

The current plan, as outlined by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, will move the Eisenhower through the Suez Canal into U.S. 5th Fleet. It will be the first time a U.S. carrier strike group will operate in the Middle East since USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) left the region following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.

The massing of ships in the Eastern Mediterranean will be the largest collection of U.S. warships in decades, USNI News previously reported.

The naval buildup is intended to deter the conflict in Southern Israel to expand to other places. U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria have come under attacks from forces sympathetic to Hamas.

Nineteen U.S. troops in Syria at Al Tanf garrison in Syria and four at Al Asad air base in Iraq were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries following last week’s combined drone and rocket attacks on the installations from forces similar, reported Politico on Thursday.

In addition to the U.S. forces, the French and U.K. have sent warships. French amphibious warship Tonnerre (L9014) will join two guided-missile frigates in the region while the Royal have has dispatched ent Bay-class landing ship dock RFA Lyme Bay (L3007) and the auxiliary ship RFA Argus (A135).

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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