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An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter, attached to the "Swamp Foxes" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74, lands on the flight deck onboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), Dec. 17, 2023. The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to support maritime security and stability in the Middle East region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nicholas Rodriguez)

Red Sea. (January 27, 2024): The Iranian back Houthi rebels in Yemen continue to attack peaceful shipping in the Gulf of Aden and the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is fighting back. In this photo by MC3 Nicholas Rodriguez, an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter, attached to the "Swamp Foxes" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 74, lands on the flight deck of the Eisenhower after a reconnaissance mission. This week, the Carrier group came under direct missile attack which represents an escalation on the part of the Iranian backed group.

The Eisenhower, commissioned in 1977, is the second of ten Nimitz-class aircraft carriers currently in service and is named after the 34th President of the United States.  Assisting the Eisenhower are six Navy surface ships including the cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the destroyers Gravely, Mason, Carney, and Laboon. The strike group is coordinating its attacks with the United Kingdom and is supported by maritime assets from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands.

Since mid-November, the Houthis have launched thirty-three attacks on international shipping and they just recently struck an oil tanker setting a portion of its deck ablaze. (Note: the fire was quickly extinguished and no injuries were reported.) America has responded by firing tomahawk missiles that can strike targets from more than one thousand miles away. According to the Air Force, more than one hundred precision-guided munitions were used against sixty targets at 16 Houthi militant sites since the crisis began. The strikes targeted munitions depots, launching systems, productions facilities, and air defense radar systems. According to the Associated Press, at least five people were killed and six wounded by the U.S. led strikes.

There are over 7,000 U.S. Sailors and Marines serving in the region along with four F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighter squadrons, an E-2 Hawkeye early warning squadron, and an EA-18G Growler electronic attack squadron. The guided-missile submarine USS Florida is also presumed to be in the Red Sea carrying 90 Tomahawk missiles

The Eisenhower also has the Aegis weapons platform, a sophisticated radar system that can search for, track, and guide missiles to hit up to one hundred targets simultaneously.

The importance of the Red Sea shipping lanes cannot be overstated. The route carries about 15% of the world’s maritime traffic and, due to the Houthi attacks, ships have begun rerouting to the longer and more expensive route around Africa. The United States and her allies are determined to stop these attacks that threaten to destabilize the world economy.