WASHINGTON, June 14, 2014 - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush to move today from the North Arabian Sea into the Arabian Gulf, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
In a statement, Kirby said the order will provide President Barack Obama additional flexibility should military options be required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq.
The Bush will be accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun. The ships are expected to complete their transit into the Gulf later this evening, Kirby said.
The USS George H.W. Bush left its home port of Norfolk, Virginia, in February and is operating in the Middle East region as part of an ongoing rotation of forward-deployed forces to support maritime security operations, he added. "American naval presence in the Arabian Gulf continues to support our longstanding commitments to the security and stability of the region," Kirby said.
Note: The above U.S. Navy photo shows the USS George H.W. Bush at sea/