In a surprise move, the United States is sending an amphibious command ship to the Eastern Mediterranean. It joins two carrier battleship groups already positioned.
The announcement comes as U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq came under drone attack Wednesday night.
The carrier battlegroups currently in the region each include one carrier, two cruisers (CGs and/or CGNs), three destroyers (DDs and/or DDGs) or frigates (FFs and/or FFGs) and one auxiliary (AE, AOE, or AOR). Some battlegroups also include a fast attack submarine (SSN) operating in a support role.
Operational command ship leaves Italy
The USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), the Navy’s command and control ship, left Gaeta, Italy, on Wednesday evening to join the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group and the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group in support of U.S. operations in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Operating as the most sophisticated Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (C4I) ship ever commissioned, according to the Navy, the USS Mount Whitney was the tactical command hub for the U.S. military’s Operation Odyssey Dawn against the Libyan regime in 2011
The United States has also deployed additional Air Force fighter groups to the region.
More U.S. Marines head to region
Also Wednesday, a unit of U.S. Marines was directed to move into the Middle East to support Israel in its war with the Hamas terrorist group, U.S. officials said on Oct. 17.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to move into the region, Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters during a briefing.
“The 26th MEU is an adaptable military force composed of infantry, aviation, and logistics components, all operating under one command,” Singh said. “Positioned at sea, the 26th MEU is equipped to execute amphibious missions, respond to crises, and engage in limited contingency operations across a spectrum of military scenarios.”
Biden returns from Israel
President Joe Biden returned to the U.S. overnight Wednesday after meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a press conference, the President announced that the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence services had corroborated Israel’s claims that Israel was not behind the explosion at a Gaza hospital that Hamas claims killed hundreds.
Israel released evidence that shows Palestinian Islamic Jihad was responsible for a misfired missile that landed on the compound. The evidence, which experts say is overwhelmingly conclusive, includes a phone conversation between Hamas operatives discussing the misfired missile, radar images of the missile launch, and surveillance video showing the launch and failure. The videos also match the live televised coverage by the Arab Network Al Jazeera which also caught the moment of the launch and explosion.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice