NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - As President Obama weighs his options on a possible military strike on Syria, five Norfolk-based warships are floating in the Mediterranean waiting for orders. Local military expects say a decision won't be made lightly.
"This kind of attack is a challenge to the world," said President Obama on Friday. "We cannot accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale."
The President and Secretary of State John Kerry have said there is evidence the Assad Regime used chemical weapons on it's own people -- killing 1,400, including 426 children.
"We are looking at the possibility of a limited, narrow act that would help make sure that, not only Syria, but others around the world, understand that the international community cares about maintaining this chemical weapons ban and norm," said the President.
The U.S. military strikes on Syria would most like come from the Norfolk destroyers. For days, the sailors there have been on high alert.
"You're always ready," added retired Vice Admiral Hank Giffin. "You have to be ready 24 hours, 7 days a week."
Giffin spent 33 years in the Navy and commanded the Atlantic Fleet Naval Surface Force. He says the ships are there to provide much more than fire power.
"One of the things they do is provide presence," Giffin said. "Presence often times is enough to calm something down to make a change or course that maybe a country is leaning to, in some cases, a leader is leaning towards."
If that change doesn't come, the President could chose to send tomahawk missiles, which cost about a $1.5 million each.
"It's not a very fast missile, but it hugs the ground. It has a way of finding it's target. We've put one through windows of building. They are very accurate," Giffin said. "A lot of times when you do something like that, there are a lot of long-range unattended consequences. You really need to think out very carefully so you know what happens next."
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