George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group Deploys, Set to Relieve Harry S. Truman Strike Group in Europe

The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group left Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Wednesday afternoon and likely headed to Europe as part of the ongoing presence operations as the Russian invasion of Ukraine approaches its six-month. The strike group consists of aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55) and destroyers USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119), USS Truxtun […]

Sailor kisses loved one at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., as USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) departs on Aug. 10, 2022. US Navy Photo

The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group left Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Wednesday afternoon and likely headed to Europe as part of the ongoing presence operations as the Russian invasion of Ukraine approaches its six-month.

The strike group consists of aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55) and destroyers USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119), USS Truxtun (DDG-103) and USS Farragut (DDG-99). Delbert D. BlackTruxton and Farragut are part of Destroyer Squadron 26 and homeported at Naval Station Mayport, according to the service.

Leyte Gulf‘s homeport is Naval Station Norfolk.

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 is embarked on Bush and includes:

  • The “Pukin’ Dogs” of VFA-143 Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) flying F/A-18Es from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Jolly Rogers” of VFA-103 – F/A-18F – from Naval Air Station Oceana.
  • The “Sidewinders” of VFA-86 – F/A-18E – from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Knighthawks” of VFA-136 – F/A-18E – from Naval Air Station Lemoore.
  • The “Patriots” of VAQ-140 – EA-18G – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
  • The “Bluetails” of VAW-121 – E-2D – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – from Naval Air Station Norfolk, Va.
  • The “Rawhides” of VRC-40 – Detachment – C-2A – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) – from Naval Air Station Norfolk.
  • The “Nightdippers” of HSC-5 – MH-60S – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) – from Naval Air Station Norfolk.
  • The “Grandmasters” of HSM-46 – MH-60R – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) – from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.

“We bring the full-range of U.S. and allied maritime power in support of national security and defense objectives wherever we sail,” Rear Adm. Dennis Velez, commander of Carrier Strike Group 10, said in the release. “Throughout our deployment we will continue to operate with and reassure our allies, maintain open sea lanes for trade and increased prosperity, and deter – or if necessary – destroy our adversaries.”

George H.W. Bush completed its graduation exercise last month that included transferring command from U.S. 2nd Fleet to Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) out of Portugal. The carrier completed an extended 30-month maintenance period last year.

The Bush Carrier Strike Group is likely heading to the Mediterranean Sea where it will relieve the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, which has been in the area since December, USNI News previously reported. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin extended the Harry S. Truman CSG as part of the United States’ response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

During its time in the Mediterranean, Harry S. Truman went under NATO control twice, the first ship to do so since the Cold War. The embarked Carrier Air Wing 1 flew 60 to 90 daily sorties along NATO’s eastern front, USNI News reported following a visit to the carrier in March.

Delbert D. Black already departed Mayport, Fla., for its maiden deployment, USNI News previously reported. The destroyer, named after the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, commissioned in 2020.

Ukraine and Russia Agree to Protect Grain Ships in Black Sea

By Jonathan Saul and Michelle Nichols LONDON/NEW YORK, Aug 8 (Reuters) – Ships exporting Ukraine grain through the Black Sea will be protected by a 10 nautical mile buffer zone, according to…

By Jonathan Saul and Michelle Nichols LONDON/NEW YORK, Aug 8 (Reuters) – Ships exporting Ukraine grain through the Black Sea will be protected by a 10 nautical mile buffer zone, according to...

USS Bulkeley Leaves for Homeport Shift to Rota; USS Delbert D. Black Leaves for Maiden Deployment

USS Bulkeley (DDG-84) left Norfolk, Va., for its new home in Rota, Spain, on Thursday evening, according to a tweet from a ship spotter. Bulkeley will be part of the Forward Deployed Naval Force-Europe ships in Rota that can conduct ballistic missile defense, according to a U.S. Fleet Forces Command news release. Other ships stationed in […]

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG-84) departs Naval Station Norfolk August 4, 2022, commencing the ship’s scheduled homeport shift to Rota, Spain, as part of the U.S. Navy’s long-range plan to gradually rotate the Rota-based destroyers. US Navy Photo

USS Bulkeley (DDG-84) left Norfolk, Va., for its new home in Rota, Spain, on Thursday evening, according to a tweet from a ship spotter.

Bulkeley will be part of the Forward Deployed Naval Force-Europe ships in Rota that can conduct ballistic missile defense, according to a U.S. Fleet Forces Command news release.

Other ships stationed in Rota include USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51), USS Roosevelt (DDG-80), USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 79.

The Navy has rotated the ships that are homeported in Rota as part of Forward Deployed Naval Force-Europe. Arleigh Burke came to Rota in April 2021, replacing USS Donald Cook (DDG-75). USS Roosevelt replaced USS Carney (DDG-64) in 2020.

Paul Ignatius pulled into Rota for its formal homeport shift in June, USNI News previously reported.

USS Porter (DDG-78) and USS Ross (DDG-71), which are currently homeported at the Spanish naval base, will transition to Norfolk as part of the shift.

The Biden administration in June announced it would base two additional destroyers in Rota, for a total of six, but did not disclose which ships or when they would head to Spain.

Typically the ships in the Forward Deployed Naval Force-Europe operate in the Black Sea for deterrence missions. But no U.S. warships have entered the Black Sea since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Bulkeley was at one point part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, deploying with the carrier in 2019. That was the ship’s last deployment, USNI News previously reported.

Bulkeley is currently led by Deputy Commodore of Destroyer Squadron 2 Capt. William Harkin, who temporarily took over as commanding officer after the Navy relieved Cmdr. Devine Johnson from the position. The Navy also relieved Master Chief Earl Sanders as the destroyer’s command master chief. The Navy cited a lack of confidence in the their ability to lead as a command team.

The Harry S. Truman CSG is currently in the Mediterranean Sea as part of U.S. support for NATO allies. USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) has gone under NATO control twice during its time in the Mediterranean.

The Harry S. Truman CSG is expected to leave the Mediterranean this month the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group will move in as the replacement, according to the USNI News Fleet Tracker.

USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119) left Naval Station Mayport, Fla., earlier this week for its maiden deployment. The destroyer will be part of the George H.W. Bush CSG.

“The ship completed all training phases of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan with Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26 and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10,” U.S. Fleet Forces Command said in a news release.

Ukraine Seeks To Extend Shipping Deal Beyond Grain

By Daren Butler and Pavel Polityuk (Reuters) – Three-grain ships left Ukrainian ports on Friday while the first inbound cargo vessel since Russia’s invasion was due in Ukraine to load, as Kyiv…

By Daren Butler and Pavel Polityuk (Reuters) – Three-grain ships left Ukrainian ports on Friday while the first inbound cargo vessel since Russia’s invasion was due in Ukraine to load, as Kyiv...

Russia Finds a New Oil Trading Route Via Tiny Egyptian Port

By Julian Lee (Bloomberg) — Russia appears to have found a new means of getting its oil to market with western sanctions looming for Moscow. A cargo of about 700,000 barrels…

By Julian Lee (Bloomberg) — Russia appears to have found a new means of getting its oil to market with western sanctions looming for Moscow. A cargo of about 700,000 barrels...

Insurers Ready Ukrainian Grain Coverage as First Ship Sails

By Jonathan Saul and Carolyn Cohn LONDON, Aug 3 (Reuters) – The London insurance sector is preparing to cover Ukrainian grains and fertilizer shipments through a secure corridor, voyages that may need…

By Jonathan Saul and Carolyn Cohn LONDON, Aug 3 (Reuters) – The London insurance sector is preparing to cover Ukrainian grains and fertilizer shipments through a secure corridor, voyages that may need...

First Grain Ship Leaves Ukraine Since Start of Russian Invasion

The first grain ship left Ukraine Monday, departing through Odesa’s port, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters. The ship was carrying approximately 26,000 metric tons of corn, according to Kirby. This is the first ship able to leave Ukraine under a deal between Ukraine and Russia, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations. […]

Wheat fields in midsummer in Ukraine, Oblast Lviv in 2012. Raimond Spekking Photo

The first grain ship left Ukraine Monday, departing through Odesa’s port, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.

The ship was carrying approximately 26,000 metric tons of corn, according to Kirby. This is the first ship able to leave Ukraine under a deal between Ukraine and Russia, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations. In order for the ship to be able to leave Odesa’s port, the U.N. needed a clear water path, USNI News previously reported.

The ship in question, Razoni, is flying under the flag of Sierra Leone, according to Reuters. It is bound for Lebanon and expected to sail through the Bosphorus Strait on Tuesday.

Razoni was in Odesa already, a crew member told Reuters. It’s not clear how long Razoni was in Odesa, but the crew member described hearing alarms go off around the port and not being able to leave the ship in the war’s early days.

Ukraine, which is one of the largest grain exporters, along with Russia, has been unable to export most of that crop since Moscow invaded in February. This has led to concerns about potential food shortages, as Ukrainian grain tends to go to lower income countries, USNI News previously reported.

The United States will be watching the ability for grain ships to leave, Kirby said.

“Russia has, of course, weaponized food, and has effectively blockaded Ukraine’s ports since the beginning of this crisis,” Kirby said. “And we urge Russia to meet its commitments under this new arrangement, including by facilitating unimpeded exports of agricultural products from Black Sea ports in order to ease the food insecure around the world.”

The United States also announced another round of assistance for Ukraine Monday.

The U.S. will send $550 million in assistance, the Pentagon announced. The most recent assistance includes 75,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition and more ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).

Lebanon Seizes Ship Accused of Carrying Stolen Ukrainian Grain

By Youssef Diab and Omar Tamo Jul 31, 2022 (Bloomberg) –Lebanon has seized a ship loaded with barley and wheat flour while it determines whether the cargo may have been stolen…

By Youssef Diab and Omar Tamo Jul 31, 2022 (Bloomberg) –Lebanon has seized a ship loaded with barley and wheat flour while it determines whether the cargo may have been stolen...

Russian Building Pontoon Bridge in Kherson, Satellite Imagery Shows

The Russian military is building a pontoon bridge in Kherson along the Dnipro River, according to satellite imagery. Ukrainians have been hitting bridges, which might explain why the Russians are building the pontoon bridge, a senior military officials told reporters Friday. “They’re probably quite honestly trying to figure out how to get across the river […]

UK Ministry of Defense Image

The Russian military is building a pontoon bridge in Kherson along the Dnipro River, according to satellite imagery.

Ukrainians have been hitting bridges, which might explain why the Russians are building the pontoon bridge, a senior military officials told reporters Friday.

“They’re probably quite honestly trying to figure out how to get across the river and go back to Crimea,” the senior military official said.

The pontoon bridge under construction is next to the site of a bridge that was destroyed, USNI News contributor H.I. Sutton tweeted Friday morning.

At 156 days into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there is little maritime movement from the Russians. There are about a half dozen Russian ships in the Black Sea, the senior military official said.

The ships are staying off the coast, which has been the typical movement from the Russian Navy since the Ukrainians sank RTS Moskva (121), the official said.

Last week, Russia and Ukraine, in a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, agreed to allow Ukraine to export grain out of three ports, including Odesa.

Within a few hours, Russia bombed Odesa, although it did not hit the grain facilities, USNI News previously reported.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the first grain ship was ready to leave Ukraine, BBC News reported Friday. Zelensky, speaking at the port of Chornomorsk, said the ship was waiting for the green light from the United Nations.

Before ships can leave the ports, the U.N. must approve a clear route in the Black Sea. One of the challenges to this is that Ukraine mined the sea near Odesa in order to prevent an amphibious landing, USNI News previously reported.

Crew Shortage Poses Major Challenge to Restoring Ukrainian Grain Exports

By Jonathan Saul LONDON, July 27 (Reuters) – Finding enough seafarers willing to sail ships stuck inside Ukraine’s ports is set to pose a major challenge to the proposed grains corridor designed…

By Jonathan Saul LONDON, July 27 (Reuters) – Finding enough seafarers willing to sail ships stuck inside Ukraine’s ports is set to pose a major challenge to the proposed grains corridor designed...