US Navy carrier strike group sets its sights on North Korea

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) transits the South China Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Brown) President Trump Tuesday addressed the growing threat out of North Korea, following recent ballistic missile tests and the fear that Kim Jong Un’s regime could be closer to building a nuclear-tipped missile, capable of reaching the United States.

The president tweeted a warning to North Korea, writing, “North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.” North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2017 He could be planning to “solve the problem” with a 97,000 ton, nuclear-powered, Nimitz-class American aircraft carrier the size of more than three football fields, steaming toward North Korea.

That warship, the USS Carl Vinson, is the flagship of the Navy’s Carrier Strike Group 1, and often called "America’s Favorite Aircraft Carrier." The strike group, established in 2009, includes the ship’s Carrier Air Wing 2, and embarked Destroyer Squadron 1 deployed with Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain, as well as Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Michael Murphy and USS Wayne E. Meyer. Sailors assigned to the Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136 "Gauntlets" prepare an EA-18G Growler for flight on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). The USS Carl Vinson is capable of carrying 90 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.

About 7,500 sailors deployed as part of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group on January 5, for a regularly scheduled assignment in Singapore. The Navy announced that it “also deployed with the embarked aviation squadrons of CVW-2 which include the ‘Black Knights’ of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 4, the ‘Blue Hawks’ of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 78, the ‘Bounty Hunters’ of Strike Fighter Squadron 2, the ‘Blue Blasters’ of VFA-34, the ‘Kestrels’ of VFA-137, the ‘Golden Dragons’ of VFA-192, the ‘Black Eagles’ of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113, the ‘Gauntlets’ of Electronic Attack Squadron 136, and the ‘Providers’ of Fleet Logistic Support Squadron 30.”

Last week, the armada was diverted to a new mission.

"U.S. Pacific Command ordered the Carl Vinson Strike Group north as a prudent measure to maintain readiness and presence in the Western Pacific," Cmdr. David Benham, a spokesman for the command, said in a statement on Sunday.

"Third Fleet ships operate forward with a purpose: to safeguard U.S. interests in the Western Pacific,” he said. “The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible, and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability,” the spokesman added.

President Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster said on Fox News Sunday that the ships were being redirected toward the Korean Peninsula as a “prudent” measure, because “North Korea has been engaged in a pattern of provocative behavior.”

“This is […]