U SS George H. W. Bush Deploys to Middle East After Month-Long Carrier Gap

Sputnik News – January 22, 2017

The US Navy’s aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush and its strike group finally left Virginia January 21 to begin its new deployment, ending the unusual near-month-long carrier gap in the Middle East.

The carrier was held up with maintenance issues that extended its scheduled maintenance from eight to 13 months, which in turn pushed back necessary training cycles, so it was unable to replace the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower when it left the Persian Gulf December 30.

“The cause of that extension was shipyard and contractor performance and the quality of the repair on several pieces of equipment,” US Fleet Forces Command said in a statement to Stripes.com.

Even more rarely, for the week between the Eisenhower’s return and the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson January 5, there were no US aircraft carriers deployed anywhere in the world. Carriers in the Middle East have been used to launch airstrikes against Daesh and are used generally for maritime security.