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Truman strike group departs Norfolk just five weeks after its last deployment

The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman departs Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018.

BENJAMIN WADDELL/U.S. NAVY PHOTO

By CHRISTIAN LOPEZ AND CAITLIN DOORNBOS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 29, 2018

In line with a new defense strategy aimed at being “strategically predictable, but operationally unpredictable,” the USS Harry S. Truman strike group has left home just 38 days after its last deployment.

The strike group, which includes the Truman aircraft carrier, Carrier Air Wing One and several guided-missile cruisers and destroyers, departed Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Tuesday to conduct “sustainment operations and carrier qualifications in the Atlantic,” a Navy statement said.

It’s also scheduled to take part in dual-carrier operations with the USS Abraham Lincoln, which has been hosting the Navy’s version of the F-35 joint strike fighter and recently served as a filming location for the much-anticipated “Top Gun” sequel.

The Truman strike group last deployed on April 11 to the Mediterranean and North Atlantic, but returned to Norfolk on July 21 for what the Navy called a “working port visit” that included routine maintenance and training.

Rear Adm. Gene Black, commander of the Truman strike group, said in the statement that this operational tempo follows the 2018 National Defense Strategy’s “dynamic force employment” concept that calls for more flexibility in the fleet.

“Since April when we began our deployment, our strike group has demonstrated our inherent maneuverability and flexibility as we took part in maritime security operations and evolutions with several key allies and partners,” he said in the statement.

The USS Ronald Reagan strike group is following a similar schedule in the Western Pacific. On Aug. 14, it deployed from Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, for the second time this year after spending less than a month at home following a patrol that ran from May until June.

It is unclear how long the Truman and Reagan deployments will last. The Navy does not discuss future ship movements for security reasons.

“We remain flexible and ready on short notice to deploy whenever and wherever the nation needs, ready to fight,” Black said in the statement.

lopez.christian@stripes.com

doornbos.caitlin@stripes.com

Twitter: @CaitlinDoornbos

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