Truman carrier group begins Europe mission
By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 2, 2019
STUTTGART, Germany — The USS Harry S. Truman has begun operations in the Atlantic Ocean, marking its first deployment into European waters this year, the Navy said.
The deployment is also the first since the Nimitz-class carrier underwent months of repairs to its electrical system, forcing its strike group to deploy without it.
The aim of the deployment is to show commitment to allies in the region, Truman commander Rear Adm. Andrew J. Loiselle said.
“These vital sea lanes must remain open for global commerce and prosperity, and nothing in the world is able to foster regional security like a carrier strike group,” Loiselle said in a statement on Sunday.
Russia has stepped up naval activity in the Mediterranean and the Arctic, causing concern for U.S. military commanders in Europe.
The Truman strike group will perform missions in the Naples, Italy-based 6th Fleet’s area of operations before it moves to the Middle East, where the carrier is expected to relieve the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea, where it was dispatched earlier this year as tensions with Iran escalated.
In 2018, the Truman deployed to the Mediterranean, where it conducted air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria, and performed the first aircraft carrier patrol in the Arctic since the Cold War.
The Truman was sidelined for three months earlier this year to allow repairs to be made to its electrical system. Six days after it was declared fixed and ready to go to sea in mid-November, it set out to “reintegrate the carrier strike group,” Navy Times reported at the time.
The Truman’s entry into U.S. European Command territory comes as President Donald Trump heads to London this week for a meeting of NATO leaders.
On Tuesday, allies are expected to discuss security in Europe, including an alliance initiative focused on boosting the combat readiness of allied aircraft, ground units and warships. The NATO initiative, called the Four Thirties plan, calls for NATO by 2020 to have 30 battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 warships that can be in action within 30 days’notice.