No One Asked, "Where's the 82nd Airborne?"
...as a maritime & aerospace power does...
In times of calm, there is a pattern in the national security arena where ideas ooze out of academia or are foisted upon the information space by various agenda driven think tanks and anti-military types who were waiting for just the right moment to tell us that the US Navy’s aircraft carriers are somewhere between obsolete and useless in <insert whatever trend is trendy-trend at the moment>.
That is the point that navalists or naval historians usually reach for the bottle - either holding libations or blood pressure medications.
Now, we can have gentlemanly disagreements amongst ourselves as to size, expense, airwing composition, cost, or alternatives to present designs, but in general there is simply no substitute for a huge, mobile, and toothy bit of national sovereignty wandering about the planet. That is why everyone who can afford one is building one…or two…or more.
One gets tired of the regular response we seem to have to come up with;
yes carriers are vulnerable because everyone wants to sink them because they are so valuable and no one can delivery power in so many different ways than a carrier. They always have been because they have one purpose in life - to deliver delicate aircraft full of highly flammable fuel, loaded with lots of bombs and rockets - and to do so they have a lot of open space and not that much of an ability to defend themselves. Don’t forget that for the first couple of years of WWII, almost everyone was out of carriers … though the U.S. already had plenty being built to replace losses by early 1943 thanks to the naval preparations of the late 1930s... etc … etc…
We’re won’t go further to explain the wetness of water at room temperature today. As the cool kids say - or used to say, who knows - “I can’t even.”
Anyway, what was one of the first things the USA did after the attacks from Gaza last week?
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Sunday he has ordered the Ford carrier strike group to sail to the Eastern Mediterranean to be ready to assist Israel after the attack by Hamas that has left more than 1,000 dead on both sides. Americans were reported to be among those killed and missing.
The USS Gerald R. Ford, the Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier, and its approximately 5,000 sailors and deck of warplanes will be accompanied by cruisers and destroyers in a show of force that is meant to be ready to respond to anything, from possibly interdicting additional weapons from reaching Hamas and conducting surveillance.
The large deployment reflects a U.S. desire to deter any regional expansion of the conflict. But the Israeli government formally declared war Sunday and gave the green light for “significant military steps” to retaliate against Hamas.
… Along with the Ford the U.S. is sending the cruiser USS Normandy and destroyers USS Thomas Hudner, USS Ramage, USS Carney, and USS Roosevelt,
The Pentagon directed the Dwight Eisenhower carrier strike group to move to the eastern Mediterranean. It will take between a week and a week and a half to reach the region.
Much like the Ford, the Ike carrier will be accompanied by other ships like the guided-missile cruiser Philippine Sea, guided-missile destroyers Gravely and the Mason.
We’ll see if FORD’s deployment is extended or not - but let this be another example of the inherent flexibility of sea power.
We don’t need basing rights or permission to do squat. Operational security is incredibly more easy to control. The enemy does not have an easy time targeting something that moves in a very large sea and has a layered defense. A CSG sends a signal yet does not commit anyone to action like boots-on-the-ground does. It gives the national command authority the ability to escalate or deescalate as they so desire.
Potential foes can find out one day there are two, three, or four nuclear powered monuments to national will off their coast, or that the monster over the horizon decided to up and leave at night…or better yet; they don’t know.
This isn’t the only thing already of interest to navalists. Yes, there is a lot to keep track of at sea, not just the exciting stuff like small boat gunfights or Naval Surface Fires heading ashore, but also something altogether slightly unusual.
In response to the effort outlined by our embassy in Israel’s “Security Alert #10,” she arrived in Haifa this morning to,
The U.S. government is assisting U.S. nationals and their immediate family members with a valid travel document to depart Haifa via sea for Cyprus on October 16, 2023. Boarding begins at 0800 AM local time. U.S. citizens must arrive at Haifa port passenger terminal no later than 0900 AM local time. Boarding will proceed in order of arrival and is on a space limited basis.
Instructions for travelers:
Each traveler must be a U.S. national or the immediate family member (spouse/partner, children under age 21) of a U.S. national and have a valid passport.
If you do not currently have your valid U.S. passport in your possession, please immediately reply to this email so that we may assist you in making an appointment in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv to obtain one.
Immediate family members who are not U.S. citizens must be eligible for entry to the destination.
Entry requirements can be found here: https://mfa.gov.cy/visa-information.html
Each traveler may bring one bag up to 50 lbs./22 kg plus one small carry-on bag.
Travelers cannot bring pets.
Before boarding the ship, you will be asked to sign a promissory note (agreement to repay the U.S. government) for the cost (available at https://eforms.state.gov/Forms/ds5528.PDF). Having a complete DS 5528 promissory with you on arrival will help expedite your departure process.
You will be responsible for arranging your own accommodations and onward travel from Cyprus.
If you are unable to secure onward travel from Cyprus, chartered flights are also being arranged.
** You will be responsible for your travel to the point of departure. Travel within Israel is conducted at your own risk, and plans may change depending on the security situation. The U.S. government is unable to guarantee your safety.
The passage to Limassol Port is expected to take approximately 10-12 hours]. Food and wi-fi will be available. U.S. consular staff will be available both on the ship and at the Limassol Port in Cyprus to assist and provide information about onward travel to the United States; however, you will be responsible for making accommodations and booking onward flights. Cyprus has two international airports, primarily in Larnaca and another in Paphos. We encourage you to use online search engines and similar sites to make your own travel and accommodation arrangements prior to arrival in Limassol. The U.S. Embassy will provide buses to both airports from the port of Limassol.
I would really like to know what requires the State Dept. to ask for a promissory note in order to be evacuated from a war zone. I mean, really. All the taxes you pay - and all the BS junk DOS spends money on, you are running ways from 7th Century rapists and child murderers - and they want you to fill out this?
Anyway, I’m not sure when the last time the US government chartered a cruise ship to evacuate civilians … but again, something unusual that I’d love to read the lessons learned from.
Finally - and I’m not sure I should even mention this as it is so dark - but I do hope that this ship has at least one if not two of our DDG escorting her from Haifa to Cyprus and a company of Marines on board. If I were wearing a Red Hat - or keffiyeh, whatever - then I would have a couple different COA out there to intercept that ship from Lebanon. We should not assume that Hezbollah or one of their offshoots might not be so bold.
So, yeah…wargame that out.