USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) is in the Eastern Mediterranean on its way to the Middle East, USNI News has learned.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, the flagship of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, is expected to sail through the Suez Canal this weekend and chop into U.S. Fifth Fleet, a defense official told USNI News. As of Thursday, the carrier was operating south of Crete according to publicly available satellite photos shared on social media.
Ike deployed on Oct. 14, along with a new medical team, under orders to go to the Eastern Mediterranean where it would join the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, which is in the Eastern Med as part of the U.S. deterrence efforts to Iran and Hezbollah, a State Department-designated terrorist group out of Lebanon, from widening the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin then ordered the carrier strike group to U.S. Central Command’s area of response on Oct. 22, USNI News previously reported. Ike and the ships of the Dwight D. Eisenhower CSG will join USS Bataan (LHD-5) and USS Carter Hall (LSD-50) in U.S. Fifth Fleet, USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19), the other ship in the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, is in the Eastern Med.
Bataan and Carter Hall, currently in the Red Sea, have been in the Middle East since August, when the ships arrived as part of deterrence efforts in the Strait of Hormuz to prevent Iranian groups, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy, from seizing and harassing merchant tankers. The two ships are now part of deterrence efforts against Iranian-backed groups from attacking U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq, as well as to prevent a widening of the Israel-Hamas conflict. The strike group was spotted in the northern part of the Red Sea, according to ship spotters.
As of Monday, there have been 23 attacks on U.S. forces in the two countries. Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters that the number of attacks is an increase in an area that is familiar to clashes, but she did not say how much of an increase.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group started off its deployment with delays as Ike finished its carrier qualifications. It initially deployed on Oct. 14, but five days later, it was still off the coast of Virginia Beach.
When the Ike CSG arrives in U.S. Fifth Fleet, it will be the first carrier strike group in that area of response since 2021, when USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) helped cover withdrawal efforts from Afghanistan, USNI News previously reported.