USS Truman carrier and strike force bound for waters off Syria amid Russian naval buildup

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The USS Harry Truman with a strike force of 5 guided missile warships were on their way on Sunday, Nov. 18 to waters off the Syrian coast. They entered the Mediterranean on Friday, Nov. 16, just as the Russian Middle East fleet wound up a series of search and destroy exercises against enemy submarines and warships. They were led by two Russian guided missile frigates Admiral Makarov and Admiral Essen, armed with Kalibr-NK cruise ship-to-shore missiles. Russia air force helicopters took part in the drills. By week’s end, there were 8 Russian warships in the eastern Mediterranean. Continue reading

U.S. Deploys Two Aircraft Carriers To Mediterranean To “Send A Clear Message To Russia”

Over the weekend we noted that US aircraft carrier, the USS Harry Truman, which has served as a launching point for a near-constant barrage of airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria and which since November has accounted for a little more than half of the total sorties flown over those two countries by the U.S. military, recently crossed the Suez Canal in an unplanned trip to the Mediterranean, had begun striking at various Islamic State targets from the Mediterranean Sea. This marked the first time a carrier group has launched airstrikes from the area since the 2003 invasion in Iraq.

But it turns out the carrier strike group had another, far more important mission when it entered the Mediterranean. According to the WSJ, this 20-story-tall aircraft carrier with a crew of 5,000 made an unplanned diversion from the Gulf to the eastern Mediterranean last week: a quick pivot intended to send a clear message to Russia. A military official in Washington said the Truman’s shift was a signal to Moscow and a demonstration of the Navy’s operational flexibility and reach.

“It provides some needed presence in the Med to check…the Russians,” the official said. “The unpredictability of what we did with Truman kind of makes them think twice.” Continue reading