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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon is sending an aircraft carrier to the Middle East several months early to make sure at least two carriers will constantly be present in the troubled region.
There are two carriers in the area now, but one was scheduled to leave before its replacement arrived to fill that gap, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has approved sending by late summer the USS John C. Stennis strike group, which also includes the Aegis guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay and some 5,500 sailors.
The extra presence was approved late last week on a request by Gen. James Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, Pentagon press Secretary George Little said Monday.
"This is not about any one particular country or any one particular threat," he said.
Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
reply to post by schuyler
Well, I'll tell ya what...I'm reading RSS from the Pentagon public affairs and I'm reading State and White House releases a few times a day when they come. I'm going by those, not some MSM report. Their statements are saying, in no uncertain terms, the rotation is occuring 4 months ahead of schedule. It is being done, they go on to state, in such a way as to leave no gap in coverage and overlap the Carrier presence so as to avoid any opening for events to jump into.
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy will deploy the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and its strike group four months early and shift its destination to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, DOD officials said at the Pentagon July 16.
The Bremerton, Wash.-based Stennis strike group was due to deploy at the end of the year to U.S. Pacific Command. The group returned from duty in the Middle East in March.
USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- Aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, embarked aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), completed their final combat flight operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) this deployment, July 9.
Currently deployed with Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9 since December 2011, CVW-2 launched its first flights in support of OEF in February.