USS CARL VINSON WAS NOT EN ROUTE TO KOREAN PENINSULA WHEN DEFENSE OFFICIALS CLAIMED IT. WHERE IS IT NOW?
SUNDA STRAIT (April 15, 2017) The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) transits the Sunda Strait. The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled western Pacific deployment as part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet-led initiative to extend the command and control functions of U.S. 3rd Fleet. U.S Navy aircraft carrier strike groups have patrolled the Indo-Asia-Pacific regularly and routinely for more than 70 years. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)
Over a week ago, Washington declared that the USS Carl Vinson strike group was set to sail to the Korean Peninsula in order to “project power” in the region amid the growing tensions between the United States and Northern Korea.
“US Pacific Command ordered the Carl Vinson strike group north as a prudent measure to maintain readiness and presence in the western Pacific,” The Guardian quoted Commander Dave Benham, spokesman at US Pacific Command on April 9.
“We’re sending an armada,” Mr. Trump said to Fox News on April 11 meaning that the deployment of the US carrier strike group in the Sea of Japan will send a powerful “singal” to North Korea.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also confirmed the deployment last week.
However, in the very same moment, the strike group was sailing in the opposite direction in order to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean.
On April 18, the US Navy posted a photo online of the Carl Vinson sailing south through the Sunda Strait (it separates the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra). The photo was taken on April 15 and followed a number of Washinton statements about an importance of “signals” to North Korea.
With the almost whole White House, including President Trump, in action over the expected deployment, it’s now very complicated to say that there were no plans to send an airstrike group to the Korean Peninsula area.
So, finally, the USS Carl Vinson strike group turned to the Korean Peninsula. It’s expected to arrive the area next week.
“White House officials declined to comment on the confusion, referring questions to the Pentagon. “Sean discussed it once when asked, and it was all about process,” a spokesman, Michael Short, said of Mr. Spicer.
Privately, however, other officials expressed bewilderment that the Pentagon did not correct its timeline, particularly given the tensions in the region and the fact that Mr. Spicer, as well as the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, were publicly answering questions about it.
“The ship is now moving north to the Western Pacific,” the Pentagon’s chief spokeswoman, Dana White, said Tuesday. “This should have been communicated more clearly at the time.”” The New York Times’ article on the issue reads.