Destroyer Mahan returning home from Mediterranean
The Navy destroyer Mahan has left the eastern Mediterranean Sea and is returning home to Norfolk, even as the U.S. ramps up to a possible attack on Syria.
Four other Norfolk-based destroyers, the Gravely, the Barry, the Stout and the Ramage, remain patrolling the Mediterranean near the Syrian coast, according to a defense official.
The destroyers are awaiting possible orders from President Barack Obama to launch cruise missiles at Syria in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons in the country’s civil war.
The Mahan departed the Mediterranean on Monday, the official confirmed. The ship deployed in December and delayed its return home last month even after its replacement, the Ramage, arrived in the region.
The Stout also just arrived and was scheduled to relieve the Barry, which currently remains in the area.
This is the Barry’s first deployment since 2011, when it launched missiles in support of establishing a no-fly zone over Libya. The Gravely departed Norfolk in February on its maiden deployment.
Each of the ships is carrying dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles. Each missile carries a 1,000-pound bomb and can hit a target with precision from as far away as 1,500 miles.
The amphibious assault ship San Antonio is also in the Mediterranean on what officials say is a regularly scheduled deployment
The defense official also confirmed that the West Coast-based Nimitz carrier strike group has pulled into the Red Sea. The group has not officially been tasked with a mission, and is there as “just a prudent move” in case it is needed, the official said.