For the next week, not only will there be no U. S. Navy aircraft carrier in the Middle East, but there will be no U.s. aircraft carriers deployed at sea anywhere else in the world, despite a host of global threats to the United States.
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The carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and its strike group returned to Norfolk, Va., Friday after a seven-month deployment. The Ike launched hundreds of air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria from both the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf.
Two hunters in the Ike the strike group also saw combat. The USS Nitze and USS Mason were attacked in the Red Sea as by iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen launched cruise misisles, which were intercepted by the Bricklayer. A retaliatory strike by the Nitze destroyed the radar installations in Yemen in October.
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The Eisenhower-the replacement of the carrier, the USS George H. W. Bush, is a delay of more than six months in the recruit and will not be able to replace the Ike until the beginning of next year, according to the Navy officials.
Although there is no AMERICAN aircraft carrier in the Middle East now, there is a large terrace U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship with thousands of Marines on board as well as helicopters and some jets to respond to a crisis, according to the officials.
In the meantime, the Navy tells Fox News the U.S. army has other jets available for the aircraft carrier, the hole in the Middle-East and elsewhere in the world. The Navy can also “surge” is a carrier now in the port to implement as needed. But the absence of a deployed u.s. Navy aircraft carrier, long seen as a symbol of American power projection, is remarkable. It is probably the first time since the second world War, that at least one AMERICAN aircraft carrier has not been implemented.
“We do not plan to discuss the timing of the operational movements of carrier strike groups in and out of the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility,” said Captain Terry Shannon, a U. S. Naval Forces Central Command spokesman in a statement to Fox News. Centcom is responsible for control over all US forces in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
It is not the first time that there is a carrier hole in the Middle-East. Last fall, the US Navy used on a French aircraft carrier to fill the void when the USS Theodore Roosevelt returned home. At the time that the first gap in carrier coverage in the Middle East since 2007.
Other factors contribute to the Navy of the united states does not have an aircraft carrier deployed anywhere in the world at this time. From 2011 to 2013, the Navy to maintain two carriers in the Persian Gulf on the orders of Centcom’s former commander, Gen. James Mattis, who is now President-elect, Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of defense.
The congressionally mandated cuts known as the bankruptcy have also felt it on the water since 2011. After billions of dollars were cut from the Navy’s budget, ships, such as the George H. W. Bush were forced to prolong their time in the shipyards, which had a domino effect along the line. If Bush had the shipyard on time, she would be relieved of the Ike in the Gulf and the Mediterranean sea, officials tell Fox News.
Fox News recently flew to the USS George H. W. Bush 40 miles from the coast of North Carolina to see the crew of the final adjustment.
With jets landing every 60 seconds, the cockpit crew worked on getting the time between the “pitfalls” (supply) to 40 seconds.
On board of the ship, the 18 – to 22-year-old men and women work 14 hours per day in the wheelhouse, with a little rest — all of this for the implementation and possible fall live rounds on ISIS.
“This is the military equivalent of spring training, because as soon as we fill this at the end of December, then we will go ahead and it will be the real forces that we will go fly with and against,” said Rear Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, commander, Carrier Strike 2, interviewed on his perch above the four-acre flight deck known as “Vulture in the Row.”
In addition to fighting ISIS, the ship’s commanding officer, said his crew will be ready to go with Russia or China, if necessary.
“We have no emergent or in anticipation of a conflict with them, definitely, it is fair to say that we have diverse interests in many cases. and so we must be prepared to understand how we will react if necessary,” said Captain Will Pennington.
There is recent history with this ship.
On Aug. 8, 2014, a few of the F-18’s of the Bush launched the first air strikes against ISIS in northern Iraq.
Now, two and a half years later, the ship is back on the road to the battle against the Islamic State terror group.
“That is not to say that three months or six months from now, that will be the priority for our country. So we must be ready to perform anytime, anywhere, any mission,” said Captain James McCall, commander of the Air Wing 8, responsible for all aircraft on board.
Fox News’ Stephen Scarola contributed to this report.
Luke Tomlinson is the Pentagon and the State Department producer Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews