NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Group officially arrived in the Middle East over the weekend.

The strike group consists of flagship aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea, guided-missile destroyers USS Mason and USS Gravely, a carrier air wing with its nine squadrons.

The strike group entered the Red Sea from the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal on Nov. 4. Their purpose is to bring the region additional aviation and naval assets and to provide greater flexibility and maritime capability to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

“The arrival of IKECSG [Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group] to Middle East region displays our speed and agility to flex as our nation’s leaders determined a balance of maritime capability in support of national security priorities,” said Rear Adm. Marc Miguez. “The strike group brings an unparalleled combat superiority to CENTCOM [US Central Command] and we will be leveraging our presence in the theater to enhance regional security and operate alongside our allies and partners.”

The Carrier Air Wing includes the “Gunslingers” of Strike Fighter Squadron 105, the “Fighting Swordsmen” of Strike Fighter Squadron 32, the “Rampagers” of Strike Fighter Squadron 83, the “Wildcats” of Strike Fighter Squadron 131, the “Screwtops” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 123, the “Zappers” of Electronic Attack Squadron 74 and the “Rawhides” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 4.

All of the Carrier Strike Group units deployed from their homeports of Norfolk and Mayport, Florida on Oct. 13 and 14.

The U.S. Fifth Fleet area of operations includes about 2.5 million square miles of water space. This includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Suez Canal and Strait of Bab al-Mandeb.

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