NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The Norfolk-based USS Truxtun has extended its deployment as it has moved off the coast of Sudan on standby amid dire and chaotic scenes in the African nation that has forced the evacuation of the U.S. embassy there.
The U.S. has deployed intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets to support land evacuation routes, and the Navy said the ship is awaiting orders in case it’s needed to transport civilians or provide any medical care.
“So right now, we have the USS Truxton (DDG-103), which is off the coast of Sudan, near Port Sudan,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder during a Defense Department briefing Monday. “It will stay there awaiting further orders should it be needed to support. Also en route is the USS (Lewis B.) Puller. So again, those capabilities will be there should we need to use them in support of State Department’s efforts.”
The White House is now actively helping American citizens who want to leave Sudan as intense fighting continues in the African nation. National Security advisor Jake Sullivan said during a press briefing that hundreds have died in the escalating fighting, including children.
Ryder said he wanted flexibility in the Naval assets positioned off Sudan’s coast.
“The Truxton is a Arleigh Burke class destroyer (and) the idea here is to have these capabilities offshore, available, should we need, for example, to transport citizens to another location, should we need to provide medical care, those kinds of things,” Ryder said. “So, again, positioning assets to be ready if asked and if needed. As we move forward, certainly if we are in a position to have to deploy that capability, we’ll keep you updated.”
“I would look at it less as a destroyer and more as a ship and the capability that comes with it, a variety of capabilities, that include transport. Right now, to our knowledge, we’re not talking large numbers of Americans looking to come out of Sudan. But again, in the days ahead, we’ll stay closely coordinated with the State Department. They’re in the lead. And we’ll be prepared to support them,” Ryder said.
There have been no American casualties, as the airport remains closed and there is fighting in the streets. There is also no power, running water, internet or phone service in the area.
Over the weekend, the U.S. launched a mission to rescue 80 U.S. embassy personnel and their families. The U.S. embassy in closed in Sudan – for now.
“We ought to commend the military and the intelligence community for getting our diplomatic personnel out,” Sen. Mark Warner said. “That was a dangerous mission to take them out by helicopter.”
There were no reported injuries or incidents.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun is part of the USS George HW Bush strike group. The aircraft carrier returned home on Sunday, April 23.
The Truxtun has been deployed to the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of operations since August to help with maritime security and stability in the Middle East.