The USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier is returning home after extended deployment defending Israel


What to know about Houthi attacks in Red Sea

What to know about Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, coalition to protect commercial shipping


The USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group is headed home, the Navy announced Monday, months after being deployed to the eastern Mediterranean to provide protection for Israel following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.

The Ford and its accompanying warships will be replaced by the amphibious assault ship the USS Bataan and its accompanying warships, the USS Mesa Verde and the USS Carter Hall. The three vessels had been in the Red Sea and have been transiting toward the Eastern Mediterranean over the last few days. The Navy said in its Monday announcement the group remaining will include the three ships and 2,000 Marines “that provide sea-based expeditionary forces capable of supporting a wide range of missions.”

The Ford stayed in the Eastern Mediterranean while its accompanying warships had sailed into the Red Sea, where they repeatedly intercepted incoming ballistic missiles and attack drones fired from Houthi-controlled Yemen. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited the Ford last month.

Since it was extended in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Ford and the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier have been part of a two-carrier presence bracketing the Israel-Hamas war, underscoring U.S. concerns that the conflict will widen. The Eisenhower has recently patrolled near the Gulf of Aden, at the mouth of the Red Sea waterway, where so many commercial vessels have come under attack in recent weeks.

On Sunday, helicopters from the Eisenhower and its destroyer the USS Gravely responded to a distress call from the container ship Maersk Hangzhou, which was under attack by four Iranian-backed Houthi small boats. As the helicopters responded, the boats fired at them with crew-served weapons and small arms and the helicopters returned fire, sinking three of the four boats and killing their crews, the U.S. Central Command said.

The incessant attacks on the commercial ships have led some companies to suspend transits through the narrow Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Gulf of Aden to the southern Red Sea and then the Suez Canal.

2024-01-01 18:35:29 , Home –

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