In response to recent attacks on Israel by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, the Pentagon has taken swift action by deploying its newest aircraft carrier to the troubled waters of the Middle East. The move, aimed at reassuring Israel and other U.S. allies in the region while deterring potential adversaries like Iran from exploiting the conflict, was announced by the Defense Department on Sunday, Oct 8.
The U.S.S. Gerald Ford Strike Group, led by its eponymous aircraft carrier, alongside several destroyers and cruisers, has been dispatched to the eastern Mediterranean, as declared by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in an official statement. Squadrons of F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10 warplanes in the region are being reinforced to further bolster the military presence. The Pentagon commenced the shipment of equipment and ammunition to the Israeli Defense Forces on Sunday.
Notably, the U.S.S. Gerald Ford is embarking on its inaugural combat deployment, housing approximately 6,000 sailors across the aircraft carrier and its accompanying vessels, including missile-equipped destroyers.
Army Gen. Erik Kurilla, the commander of U.S. Central Command, affirmed the United States’ unwavering commitment to its allies in the region. He emphasized that the deployment of forces unequivocally conveys the United States’ solidarity with Israeli and regional partners in addressing the escalating risks posed by any party seeking to escalate the conflict.
This display of military strength in the Middle East is a well-established response by the Pentagon to heightened tensions in the region. In July, amid Iranian forces harassing shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, the U.S. Navy dispatched a destroyer, as well as F-35s and F-16s, to the area.
Moreover, the Defense Department has been entrusted with the critical task of evacuating U.S. citizens from the Middle East during times of conflict. An illustrative case was witnessed in 2006 when the Pentagon successfully evacuated 15,000 citizens following the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah guerrillas on the Lebanese border. In response to Israel’s military actions, which included bombing Beirut’s airport and blockading ports, a mass evacuation was executed to ensure the safety of American citizens in the region.
This decisive deployment underscores the Pentagon’s commitment to maintaining regional stability and safeguarding the interests of the United States and its allies in the Middle East.