With a US attack on Syria now seemingly inevitable, it is useful to get familiar (and in some cases follow in real time using their "social networking" sites) the US Naval forces amassing around Syria, ready to deliver either a lethal payload of Tomahawk cruise missiles (carried by the four destroyers listed below), a deployment of marines (located in the USS Kearsarge big-deck amphibious warfare ship), or one or more squadrons of airplanes sitting on the deck of the Truman and Nimitz aircraft carriers.
As a reminder, here is how the core naval forces look like currently in the region (next update due tomorrow).
And here are the various "social media" and other pages of the US naval force:
- Aircraft Carriers
USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) is the eighth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, named after the 33rd President of the United States, Harry S. Truman. The ship's callsign is Lone Warrior, and she is currently homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.
Harry S. Truman was launched on 14 September 1996 by Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia, and commissioned on 18 July 1998 with Captain Thomas Otterbein in command. President Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker, and other notable attendees and speakers included Missouri Representative Ike Skelton, Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan, Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton.
Harry S. Truman was initially the flagship of Carrier Group Two and, beginning 1 October 2004, of Carrier Strike Group Ten.
Beginning in 2001, the Harry S. Truman Carrier Battle Group participated in Operation Joint Endeavor, Operation Deny Flight, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Summer Pulse '04, and NATO Operation Medshark/Majestic Eagle '04.
USS Nimitz (CVN-68)
USS Nimitz (CVN-68) is a supercarrier of the United States Navy, and is the lead ship of her class. She is one of the largest warships in the world. She was laid down, launched and commissioned as CVAN-68 but she was redesignated CVN 68 (nuclear-powered multimission aircraft carrier) on 30 June 1975 as part of the fleet realignment.
The ship was named for World War II Pacific fleet commander Chester W. Nimitz, who was the navy’s third fleet admiral. Unlike all of the subsequent Nimitz class aircraft carriers, Nimitz only uses her namesake's surname as is common for naval officers. She is also the first carrier of her class and the most recent supercarrier in service not to be named for someone who held elected office in the United States.
Nimitz had her homeport at Naval Station Norfolk until 1987, when she was relocated to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington. Following her Refueling and Complex Overhaul in 2001, her homeport was changed to NAS North Island in San Diego, California. The home port of Nimitz was again moved to Everett, Washington, in 2012. This move is expected to save the Navy $100 million.
* * *
- Big-Deck Amphibious Warfare Ship
USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) is the third Wasp-class amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy. She is the fifth ship to be named (the fourth actually commissioned) in honor of the USS Kearsarge, a sloop-of-war that gained fame during the American Civil War, which was in turn named for Mount Kearsarge in New Hampshire.
On 2 March 2011, Kearsarge, along with USS Ponce (LPD-15), traveled through the Suez Canal in response to the 2011 Libyan civil war. Robert Gates had said days earlier that he ordered the two warships into the Mediterranean, along with an extra 400 Marines, in case they are needed to evacuate civilians or provide humanitarian relief. As of 20 March, AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft from the Kearsarge have been reported attacking Libyan targets as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn.
On 22 March, V-22 Ospreys from the Kearsarge conducted a successful CSAR operation to recover the crew of a USAF F-15E Strike Eagle after it crashed in Libya due to a mechanical failure during a combat mission. The Daily Telegraph reported a military source as stating that during the rescue strafing runs were carried out and two Harriers dropped two 500 lb bombs on a convoy of Libyan vehicles, with other reports alleging that Libyan civilians were wounded in the operation. The ship returned to home port at Norfolk on 16 May 2011.
Following a three day delay due to weather, Kearsarge deployed from Naval Station Norfolk on March 11, 2013 for a scheduled eight month deployment. One of her first port visits was to cash-strapped Cyprus. The Kearsarge later docked at the Israeli port of Eilat for several days beginning May 14, 2013 before continuing her deployment
* * *
- Destroyers (each equipped with Tomahawk Cruise Missiles):
USS Barry (DDG-52) is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, commissioned in 1992. Barry is the fourth United States Navy ship named after the "Father of the American Navy", Commodore John Barry (1745–1803). Barry is homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.
Several improvements over Arleigh Burke exist on this ship and all following Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. They include the ability to refuel a helicopter and several other small improvements.
Barry has received many awards, including the Battenberg Cup for the years 1994, 1996, and 1998—making Barry one of only three ships (as of 2008) to have won the prestigious award three times, and the only Aegis destroyer to have won the award thus far—earning her the nickname "Battenberg Barry" in the late 1990s. She has also been awarded the Battle E award 4 times, and received the Golden Anchor and Silver Anchor Awards for retention. More recently, in 2004 the Barry received the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy for being the most improved ship in the Atlantic Fleet.
* * *
USS Ramage (DDG-61)
USS Ramage (DDG-61) is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer of the United States Navy. The ship is named for Vice Admiral Lawson P. Ramage, a notable submarine commander and Medal of Honor recipient in World War II.
Ramage was laid down 4 January 1993 at the Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, launched 11 February 1994, sponsored by Barbara Ramage (wife of the admiral), and commissioned 22 July 1995.
On August 8, 2013, Ramage departed for an eight month deployment into the US Navy 6th Fleet area of responsibility to assist with ballistic missile defense. Its last deployment was from May, 2012 to January, 2013
The USS Ramage entered the eastern Mediterranean Sea as a response to the Syrian civil war. It was specifically deployed after allegations that President Bashar al-Assad's regime had used chemical weapons on its own people in suburbs of Damascus. The Navy destroyer USS Ramage has arrived in the region, a defense official said late Friday 23rd August 2013. It was intended to replace the USS Mahan, but the Mahan will remain temporarily along with the USS Gravelly and USS Barry. All four are equipped with cruise missiles.
* * *
USS Gravely (DDG-107)
USS Gravely (DDG-107) is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer in the United States Navy. She is named after Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely, Jr.
Gravely is the 57th destroyer in her class. She was authorized on 13 September 2002 and her keel was laid down on 26 November 2007 at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding's Ingalls Shipbuilding shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Gravely was launched on 30 March 2009.She successfully completed sea trial in June 2010.
Gravely was commissioned at Wilmington, North Carolina on 20 November 2010 under the command of Commander Douglas Kunzman. She is currently part of Carrier Strike Group Two. In late August 2013 along with her sister ships USS Mahan (DDG-72) USS Barry (DDG-52), and USS Ramage (DDG-61), Gravely was sent to patrol the eastern Mediterranean Sea in response to rising rumors of an imminent military intervention in the Syrian civil war.
* * *
USS Mahan (DDG-72)
USS Mahan (DDG-72) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer currently in service with the United States Navy
Summarizing the destroyer's capabilities: