The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) will remain at sea in the Western Atlantic, following its successful deployment, to protect the crew from the risks posed by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) has recently returned from a successful deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet and 6th Fleet areas of operation. The HSTCSG will now remain at sea as a certified carrier strike group force ready for tasking.
The U.S. 2nd Fleet (C2F) said in a statement that the Navy is taking this measure to maintain the strike group’s warfighting capability while ensuring the safety of the crew adding that the demand for naval assets remains high. C2F exercises operational authorities over assigned ships, aircraft, and landing forces on the East Coast and the Atlantic.
According to the statement, keeping HSTCSG at sea in the U.S. 2nd Fleet as it remains in the sustainment phase of OFRP [Optimized Fleet Response Plan] allows the ship to maintain a high level of readiness for a potential rapid surge or forward deployment, providing options to the national command authority during this global COVID-19 pandemic.
“The ship is entering a period in which it needs to be ready to respond and deploy at any time,” said Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander U.S. 2nd Fleet. “Normally we can do that pierside, but in the face of COVID-19, we need to protect our most valuable asset, our people, by keeping the ship out to sea.”
The statement added that the Navy will continue to evaluate “this dynamic situation” and will provide an update to the crew and their families in approximately three weeks.
“After completing a successful deployment we would love nothing more than to be reunited with our friends and families,” said Rear Admiral Andrew Loiselle, commander of Carrier Strike Group 8. “We recognize that these are unique circumstances and the responsible thing to do is to ensure we are able to answer our nation’s call while ensuring the health and safety of our Sailors. We thank you for your continued love and support as we remain focused on this important mission.”
In March, USS Harry S. Truman conducted dual carrier strike group operations with USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) in the Arabian Sea. The nuclear-powered carriers also conducted joint air wing operations with a B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber from U.S. Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT).