The US aircraft carrier USS Nimitz was deployed to the Persian Gulf this week at a time of heightened tension in the region.
Iranian Nuclear General Assassinated; Reduction of US Troops in Region
One cause for concern was the assassination of Mohsen Mahabadi, a brigadier general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and a senior official in the nuclear program of Iran, on Friday. Members of the Iranian government have blamed Israel for the targeted killing.
Aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and Carrier Air Wing 17 conduct flight operations in the Arabian Sea, Nov. 27. pic.twitter.com/EECbQXvW0d
— U.S. 5th Fleet (@US5thFleet) November 28, 2020
“There were no specific threats that triggered the return of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group,” Commander Rebecca Rebarich, spokeswoman for the US Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, said in an emailed statement after the carrier deployed on Wednesday. Rebarich did acknowledge that the redeployment of the carrier strike group was in anticipation of a US reduction of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pentagon is expected to keep a total of 5,000 US troops split evenly between the two countries.
“This action ensures we have sufficient capability available to respond to any threat and to deter any adversary from acting against our troops during the force reduction,” she said.
The Nimitz was last in the Persian Gulf three weeks ago, leaving after two months in the sector, the longest amount of time a U.S. aircraft carrier has spent in the waters since 2018.
Largest, Oldest, Nuclear-Powered
At 1092 feet and over 100,000 tons displacement, the nuclear-powered Nimitz, touted as the US Navy’s oldest and finest aircraft carrier, is one of the largest warships in the world. The Nimitz has a complement of over 3,500 sailors and an airwing of over 2,400 capable of operating 90 warplanes and helicopters.
The strike group consists of the USS Nimitz (CVN 68), guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), and guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104).