The USS Gerald R. Ford, the U.S. Navy’s newest and largest aircraft carrier, is returning to the U.S. from the eastern Mediterranean Sea. This move follows its first combat deployment, an eight-month mission in response to Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel. Described as a highly adaptable and lethal combat platform, the Ford’s reassignment is part of the U.S. Navy’s reevaluation of global force requirements.
– The Ford was deployed to the Mediterranean following the Hamas attack that resulted in over 1,200 casualties.
– Its departure leaves the USS Eisenhower as the only U.S. aircraft carrier in the region amidst increasing Houthi attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea.
– U.S. forces, including helicopters from the Eisenhower, recently engaged Houthi units, sinking three of their boats in a defensive response.
With the USS Gerald R. Ford’s withdrawal, the U.S. Sixth Fleet emphasizes that significant naval capabilities remain in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. This includes the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan and the guided-missile destroyers in the region. Additionally, the U.S. has initiated Operation Prosperity Guardian to enhance maritime security in the southern Red Sea, collaborating with allies and partners to maintain stability and deter further escalation in the region.