WASHINGTON – The Navy said Wednesday it will temporarily shrink its aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf area from two to one because of a mechanical problem with the USS Nimitz, a carrier based in Bremerton.
The Nimitz was scheduled to deploy in January to relieve the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, but that will be put off until summer in order to complete repairs to its propulsion system. The problem was discovered during pre-deployment maneuvers.
As a result, the Navy made the unusual decision to bring the Eisenhower home to Norfolk, Va., in December and resurface its flight deck so it can go back to the Gulf area in February and remain for four months. That means that in December and January the USS John C. Stennis will be the only carrier in that area, although there are other naval forces there, including Marines aboard a three-ship contingent led by the USS Peleliu.