US Carrier Theodore Roosevelt Launches First Sorties in Persian Gulf Deployment

© AP Photo / US Navy/Anna Van NuysThe aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) sails in the Arabian Sea, in this U.S. Navy
The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) sails in the Arabian Sea, in this U.S. Navy - Sputnik International
The Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier strike group and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 on Friday began sorties in support of the US-led coalition in Syria and Iraq, the US Navy said in a press release.

Also known by crewmembers as "the Big Stick", USS Theodore Roosevelt left its homeport of San Diego on October 6 and was joined the next day by the cruiser USS Bunker Hill. The vessels made their way into the Persian Gulf within the past few days.

The carrier group's deployment to the US 5th Fleet area of operations supports Operation Inherent Resolve and signals the continued commitment to defeat and destroy Daesh terrorist group, the release noted.

"The first day of flight operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve is a highly-anticipated day where the Theodore Roosevelt strike group transitions into combat operations to demonstrate our continued commitment to this region and our partner nations," Strike Group Commander Rear Adm. Steve Koehler said in the release.

"Success in this important mission takes every Sailor and Marine on board working as a team. I'm incredibly proud of all the work this team has done throughout their training and preparation, they are ready and now it is time to go to work," he said.

Squadrons from Carrier Air Wing 17 are flying from the Roosevelt, named after the 26th US president.

"I'm confident the highly skilled and professional warfighters in this air wing are ready to execute assigned tasking alongside US and coalition forces," said Capt. Chris Ford, commander of CVW-17. 

The Roosevelt is filling a void left when the USS Nimitz left in October. Two San Diego-based ships sailing with the Nimitz, the cruiser USS Princeton and destroyer USS Howard, are due to return home Tuesday following a six-month deployment.

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In addition to anti-Daesh missions, the strike group is conducting maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners, preserve freedom of navigation and maintain the free flow of commerce, the release said.

Separately operating in the Persian Gulf is the San Diego-based America Amphibious Ready Group, composed of the amphibious assault ship USS America, amphibious transport dock USS San Diego and amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor. 

In the final four days of November, the Defense Department reported 19 strikes consisting of 24 engagements against Daesh targets in Syria and Iraq.

The US-led coalition of some 70 nations is conducting airstrikes, ground-based and rocket-propelled artillery fire against Daesh targets in Syria and Iraq. While the strikes in Iraq are conducted in coordination with Baghdad, those in Syria are not authorized by Damascus or by the United Nations Security Council.    

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