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Carrier Group Puts to Sea - 2001-09-19

Another U.S. aircraft carrier battle group has put to sea as the United States marshals forces for an all-out assault on terrorism.

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt set out from Norfolk, Virginia, accompanied by a flotilla that includes 10 guided missile cruisers, destroyers, submarines and other vessels. The group is being joined by a three-ship amphibious assault group carrying 2,100 Marines.

In all, there are more than 15,000 sailors and Marines on the ships.

Navy officials describe it as a previously-scheduled 6 month deployment. But officials will not say where the battle group is going other than to tell reporters it is heading east. Some news reports say its initial destination is the Mediterranean Sea.

Normally, the Navy keeps 3 aircraft carrier battle groups at sea. With the addition of the Roosevelt, there are now 5. The Navy says two are currently in the Pacific, one in the Indian Ocean, and one in the Persian Gulf.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said the United States is prepared to use the full spectrum of its military capabilities in a war on terrorism. But he has also said the Pentagon is moving in what he terms a measured manner as authorities gather information and prepare what he says will be appropriate courses of action.

Mr. Rumsfeld has said the campaign will be broad-based and he adds that it will not quick or easy.

In addition to the latest naval battle group deployment, air force, and army units have been placed on alert for possible short-notice deployments. Defense authorities are also calling up some 35,000 reservists to assist in domestic security and clean-up operations in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.