NAPLES, Italy -- The USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group has entered the Mediterranean Sea, less than a week after the U.S. launched missile strikes on suspected chemical weapons sites in Syria.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier Truman deployed April 11 from Norfolk and arrived in the 6th Fleet theater this week. It is the first carrier to operate in the area since the USS George H.W. Bush launched airstrikes against the Islamic State last year.
"There is no more recognizable symbol of American naval power than a carrier strike group," said Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, 6th Fleet commander, in a statement. "Their presence in this vital region is a reflection of our commitment to a safe, prosperous and free Europe and Africa."
Navy officials declined to discuss the Truman's planned operations or when the strike group would move to the Persian Gulf. However, strike group deployments to the region in recent years have contributed a mix of patrols and strikes against terror groups and other adversaries.
The strike group's arrival was planned well in advance of last week's attacks by the submarine USS John Warner, which fired six Tomahawk missiles into Syria in conjunction with other U.S., British and French operations.
The Harry S. Truman last conducted Mediterranean operations in July 2016.
Its current strike group includes the destroyers USS Farragut, USS Forrest Sherman, USS Bulkeley and USS Arleigh Burke, along with the missile cruiser USS Normandy and several aviation and support squadrons.
The destroyers USS Jason Dunham and USS The Sullivans will join the group later.