The U.S. Navy participated in 11 coalition air strikes over Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State Monday as the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group prepared to relieve the USS George Bush now on assignment in the Arabian Gulf, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told reporters Sept. 30.
The attacks against the Islamic State, referred to by the Pentagon as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, included land-based fighter jets, F/A-18s and drones, according to U.S. Central Command.
Mabus said Navy assets were responsible for a quarter of the U.S. airstrikes over Iraq and Syria. The USS Bush aircraft carrier strike group, which has been deployed since February and conducted air strikes against ISIL since August, will be replaced by the USS Carl Vinson now on the way to the Arabian Gulf, Mabus said.
The USS Carl Vinson strike group, which is now in the Western Pacific, includes a guided missile cruiser – the USS Bunker Hill, and three guided-missile destroyers – the USS Gridley, USS Sterett and USS Dewey.
The ships supporting the Carl Vinson will replace existing vessels now serving as part of the USS Bush carrier strike group such as two destroyers, the USS Truxton and USS Roosevelt, and a guided-missile cruiser, the USS Philippine Sea.
The USS Bataan amphibious ready group, or ARG, now participating in operations in the Arabian Gulf is also being replaced, Navy officials said.
Navy officials said the USS Makin Island amphibious ready group is already on station in the Arabian Gulf preparing to replace the Bataan. The Makin Island amphibious ready group consists of the USS Makin Island amphibious assault ship, the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, an amphibious dock landing ship called the USS Comstock and an amphibious transport dock called the USS San Diego.
Regarding Monday’s attacks, officials with U.S. Central Command confirmed that two airstrikes in Syria near Dayr ar Zawr destroyed an Islamic State armored vehicle.
In addition, five strikes in northeast Syria near Sinjar destroyed one Islamic State artillery piece, one tank, three armed vehicles, two facilities, an observation post and struck four fighting positions, Central Command officials said.
Also in Syria, three strikes near Mazra al Duwud by the Syrian/Turkish border destroyed one Islamic state artillery piece, damaged another, and destroyed two rocket launchers. One strike northeast of Aleppo destroyed four Islamic State buildings. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely, according to a statement from Central Command.
In Iraq, seven airstrikes in northwest Iraq destroyed one Islamic State armored vehicle, two transport vehicles, and four armed vehicles and damaged one, Central Command officials said.
In the vicinity of Mosul Dam, two airstrikes destroyed an Islamic State fighting position and an armed vehicle, Centcom added.
Northwest of Baghdad, one airstrike destroyed an Islamic State armed vehicle while another strike in west Fallujah struck a checkpoint. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely, according to Central Command.
-- Kris Osborn can be reached at email@example.com