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USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier heads home after standing guard in Mediterranean Sea

The USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier strike group, which was moved to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea following the Oct. 7 invasion of Israel by Hamas-led terrorists, will be heading back to its home in Norfolk, Virginia, US military officials said on Monday.

The strike group includes the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, eight squadrons of attack and support aircraft, Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser USS Normandy, and missile destroyers USS Thomas Hudner, USS Ramage, USS Carney and USS Roosevelt.

US 6th Fleet officials said in the coming days, the fleet will redeploy to its home port as scheduled, where it will prepare for future deployments.

The Department of Defense will continue to evaluate force posture globally and retain an extensive presence in the Middle East and Mediterranean, officials added.

Ships that will remain in the area include the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, additional cruisers and destroyers in both the Middle East and Mediterranean and the recent arrival of the Wasp-class amphibious ship USS Bataan and Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Carter Hall in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The Bataan and Carter Hall will join the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), which were reaggregated in the region as an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).

Ships from the Gerald R Ford. Carrier Strike Group sail in formation in the Mediterranean Sea on Dec. 31, 2023. MC2 Nolan Pennington

The ARG, officials said, consists of three ships and about 2,000 Marines.

The Ford was deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean so it could be within striking distance of Israel following the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas.

The carrier remained in the Mediterranean while its accompanying ships sailed into the Red Sea and repeatedly intercepted incoming ballistic missiles and attack drones fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The Ford and the Eisenhower carriers were both in the region out of concerns the conflict between Israel and Hamas would spread.

Military presence will remain in the region as Houthi rebels continue to conduct attacks.

The carrier remained in the Mediterranean while its accompanying ships sailed into the Red Sea and repeatedly intercepted incoming ballistic missiles and attack drones fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen. MC3 Maxwell Orlosky
The carrier remained in the Mediterranean while its accompanying ships sailed into the Red Sea and repeatedly intercepted incoming ballistic missiles and attack drones fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen. @USNavyEurope

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On Saturday, the US military shot down two anti-ship ballistic missiles fired toward a Maersk container ship in the Red Sea after the ship was hit by a missile.

Two Navy destroyers responded to the call for help, and the Denmark-owned vessel was reportedly seaworthy, and no injuries were noted, according to US Central Command. 

Hours later, four Houthi boats fired at the same ship and tried to board.

US forces on two helicopters responded to the distress call and were also fired upon before they sank three of the Houthi vessels and killed the crews. The fourth boat fled the area.

The strike group includes the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, eight squadrons of attack and support aircraft, Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser USS Normandy, and missile destroyers USS Thomas Hudner, USS Ramage, USS Carney and USS Roosevelt. MC3 Maxwell Orlosky

No damage to US personnel or equipment was reported.

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

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Written by SaleemBaloch

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