Breitbart reports that the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier strike group was heading for the Mediterranean on Sunday amid rising tensions between the West and Russia.
The nuclear-powered Nimitz class warship and her 5,000-strong crew will take part in NATO exercises called Neptune Strike 22, AP reports.
Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, led by 6th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Gene Black, is overseeing the joint international deployment.
The exercises are set to begin Monday and run through Feb. 4, and will “demonstrate NATO’s ability to integrate the high-end maritime strike capabilities of an aircraft carrier strike group to support the deterrence and defense of the alliance,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters.
He added the strike group, along with several other NATO allies he did not name, “will participate in coordinated maritime manoeuvers, anti-submarine warfare training, and long-range strike training.”
The strike group includes five U.S. ships —- the cruiser USS San Jacinto and the guided missile destroyers USS Cole, USS Bainbridge, USS Gravely and USS Jason Dunham.
The carrier was to join the area of operations of the central command (Centcom) but U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin decided at the end of December to keep near the Mediterranean to “reassure” Europeans amid tensions with Russia.