Norfolk, Va. - At the height of the Syria crisis, the Navy had 5 destroyers and an aircraft carrier strike group ready to respond.
“Your shipmates are out there on the Nimitz, the William P. Lawrence, the Stockdale, they are providing the credible threat to the Syrian government,” said Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert during an “All Hands Call” at Naval Station Norfolk Thursday.
That’s where he broke the news that some of those ships will finally be on their way home soon, after their deployments were extended to 9 and even 10 months.
According to Navy officials, the Nimitz strike group will leave the Mediterranean Sea in the next few weeks to return to Washington state.
There will be no replacement sent for her--only the Truman Carrier Strike Group will stay in the region, sailing around the Arabian Sea for their regularly scheduled deployment.
Some in Navy circles around Hampton Roads had talked about deploying the USS George H.W. Bush early to take over for the Nimitz--but Adm. Greenert pushed those rumors aside.
“The Bush is on a schedule which we expect to remain, not sooner, not later,” said Greenert.
Sometime early in 2014, the Bush will head out to replace the Truman, for 9 1/2 months at sea.
Adm. Greenert says barring any more international crisis, it should be the last long carrier deployment.
“The Bush is a bridge to what should be a more stable deployment scheme of about 7-71/2 months,” said Adm. Greenert.
When it comes to destroyers, Navy officials say the Norfolk-based USS Barry and USS Gravely will be right behind the Nimitz, coming back to Hampton Roads after their deployments were extended for the Syria crisis.
They will not be replaced either.
Only 3 ships will stay in the Mediterranean near Syria, destroyers USS Monterey, USS Stout and USS Ramage.