NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - If the crisis in Gaza continues to escalate, locally-based military assets could be called into action.
Norfolk-based ships are already in the vicinity, according to Lt. Daniel Day with US Fleet Forces Command.
The USS Eisenhower left Norfolk in June on scheduled deployment and is not the only Norfolk-based ship in the Eisenhower Strike Group. Two guided missile Destroyers, the USS Jason Dunham and the USS Winston Churchill, also deployed last summer. This is the maiden voyage for the Dunham.
Aboard the USS Eisenhower are several locally-based airmen and support crews. There are four fighter squadrons from Naval Air Station Oceana. From Naval Air Station Norfolk are Helicopter Squadron 5, E2 Hawkeyes from VAW 121 as well as CODs from VRC-40.
A spokesperson for the Marine Corps told WAVY.com they have no area troops in the vicinity but as we know from the crisis in Libya, the rapid response group, or FAST Marines, always have people forward deployed to protect embassies and U.S. interest in that part of the world.
Norfolk-based ships routinely patrol that area around the Arabian and Mediterranean Seas as part of the 5th and 6th fleet areas of responsibility.
"We do definitely fly around the Gulf looking at the oil platforms that are in the Gulf and making sure that they don't fall under terrorist activities and we also protect our own assets," Anthony Scigliano with the Eisenhower Air Wing said.
Maintaining stability in the Middle East is in the United States interest and Israel is one of America's must trusted allies in the region.
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