The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush has departed the Mediterranean Sea and entered the Middle East, less than a week after the Pentagon extended its stay in European waters.
The Bush steamed through the Suez Canal on Wednesday, according to a Navy release.
Military leaders chose to keep the carrier and its strike group, with roughly 6,000 sailors, four ships and eight aircraft squadrons, in the Mediterranean several days past its scheduled departure to reassure allies amid the continuing turmoil in Ukraine.
The destroyer USS Truxtun, which is part of the carrier group, remained in the Black Sea as of Thursday, following exercises with Bulgarian and Romanian navies.
The Bush Carrier Strike Group departed Norfolk, Va., last month on what is only the carrier’s second deployment. It entered the Navy’s 6th Fleet waters on Feb. 24 before a scheduled transit to the Middle East.
It follows the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, which entered 5th Fleet waters last week and replaced the USS Boxer Amphibious Ready Group which is now homeward bound.