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Two F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters launch simultaneously from the deck the USS George H.W. Bush, underway in the the Persian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2014.

Two F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters launch simultaneously from the deck the USS George H.W. Bush, underway in the the Persian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2014. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

Two F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters launch simultaneously from the deck the USS George H.W. Bush, underway in the the Persian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2014.

Two F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters launch simultaneously from the deck the USS George H.W. Bush, underway in the the Persian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2014. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

Flight Deck personnel clear the area around an F/A-18 Super Hornet, as it prepares to launch from the flight deck of the USS George H.W. Bush, underway in the Persian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2014.

Flight Deck personnel clear the area around an F/A-18 Super Hornet, as it prepares to launch from the flight deck of the USS George H.W. Bush, underway in the Persian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2014. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

An F/A-18 Hornet launches from the flight deck of the USS George H.W. Bush while underway in the Persian Gulf on Aug. 11, 2014.

An F/A-18 Hornet launches from the flight deck of the USS George H.W. Bush while underway in the Persian Gulf on Aug. 11, 2014. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

An aviation ordnanceman completes arming the ordinance attached to an F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter, as it prepares to launch from the flight deck of the USS George H.W. Bush, underway in the Persian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2014.

An aviation ordnanceman completes arming the ordinance attached to an F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter, as it prepares to launch from the flight deck of the USS George H.W. Bush, underway in the Persian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2014. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

An aircraft handler directs the pilot of an F/A-18 Hornet to the catapult of the USS George H.W. Bush, underway in the Persian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2014.

An aircraft handler directs the pilot of an F/A-18 Hornet to the catapult of the USS George H.W. Bush, underway in the Persian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2014. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

Flight deck crews on the USS George H.W. Bush, underway in the Persian Gulf, prepare for the first morning launch of aircraft in support of an ongoing mission to suppress Islamic State militants in Iraq.

Flight deck crews on the USS George H.W. Bush, underway in the Persian Gulf, prepare for the first morning launch of aircraft in support of an ongoing mission to suppress Islamic State militants in Iraq. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

An F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter taxis to the catapult on the flight deck of the USS George H.W. Bush carrying ordinance, Aug. 11, 2014. The Bush is underway in the Persian Gulf in support of an ongoing mmission to suppress Islamic State militants in Iraq.

An F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter taxis to the catapult on the flight deck of the USS George H.W. Bush carrying ordinance, Aug. 11, 2014. The Bush is underway in the Persian Gulf in support of an ongoing mmission to suppress Islamic State militants in Iraq. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

ABOARD THE USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH — Flight deck personnel on the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush launched aircraft Monday for another day of missions over Iraq.

Since Friday, aircraft from the Bush have conducted at least three airstrikes on Islamic State militants in Iraq to protect American diplomats and military personnel, and help relieve the IS siege of religious minorities.

During a press conference in Sydney, Australia Monday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said the airstrikes have been "very effective," based on reports he's received from the ground.

news@stripes.com

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