The United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) region in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings by Iran, National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton said in a statement.
The deployment is to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force, said the statement released by the White House on Sunday, May 5.
The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces, Bolton added.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a branch of Iran’s Armed Forces, founded after the Iranian Revolution on 22 April 1979 by order of Ayatollah Khomeini. Whereas the Islamic Republic of Iran Army (the regular Army) defends Iran’s borders and maintains internal order, according to the Iranian constitution, the Revolutionary Guard (pasdaran) is intended to protect the country’s Islamic republic system. The IRGC is designated as a terrorist organization by the governments of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (ABECSG) departed Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, April 1, for a regularly scheduled deployment, according to a statement earlier released by the U.S. Navy. The strike group commenced operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations (European theater) on April 8 and was later joined by John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group.
The ABECSG strike group consists of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) with embarked Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW 7), Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers from Destroyer Squadron Two (DESRON 2) – USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Mason (DDG 87) and USS Nitze (DDG 94) and Spanish Navy Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate, ESPS Mendez Nunez (F-104).
Squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, commanded by Capt. William Reed, embarked aboard Lincoln include:
- Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 25 “Fist of the Fleet” – F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jets
- VFA-86 “Sidewinders”; VFA-103 “Jolly Rogers” – F/A-18F Super Hornet twin-seat fighter jets
- VFA-143 “Pukin’ Dogs” – F/A-18E Super Hornets
- Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140 “Patriots” EA-18G Growler electronic warfare (EW) aircraft
- Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 “Bluetails” E-2D Advanced Hawkeye tactical airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft
- Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 79 “Griffins” – MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission naval helicopters
- Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5 “Nightdippers” – MH-60S Seahawk multi-mission naval helicopters
- A detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 “Rawhides” – C-2A Greyhound carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft
USS Abraham Lincoln, named in honor of the 16th U.S. President, was commissioned Nov. 11, 1989, as the 5th Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. The ship completed its most recent deployment in 2012.