Obama Recalls All Aircraft Carriers-Truth! & Outdated!
Summary of eRumor:
President Obama recalled all aircraft carriers, leaving the country and its allies vulnerable to attacks.
Claims that President Obama recalled all aircraft carriers was briefly true, but an aircraft carrier has since been deployed, and plans are in place for additional deployments in the near future.
The USS Carl Vinson departed for Pacific deployment in the first week of January 2017 — making claims that the U.S. did not have one aircraft carrier deployed for the first time since World War II outdated.
The rumor began circulating in early 2017 after Fox News published a article under the headline, “No US Carrier at Sea Leaves Gap in Middle East,” that reported that it was the first time since World War II that no U.S. aircraft carriers were deployed anywhere in the world:
It’s not the first time there was a carrier gap in the Middle East. Last fall, the U.S. Navy relied on a French aircraft carrier to fill the void when the USS Theodore Roosevelt returned home. At the time it was the first gap in carrier coverage in the Middle East since 2007.
Other factors contribute to the U.S. Navy not having an aircraft carrier deployed anywhere in the world right now. From 2011 to 2013, the Navy maintained two carriers in the Persian Gulf on the orders of Centcom’s then-commander, Gen. James Mattis, who is now President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary.
The congressionally mandated budget cuts known as sequestration have also been felt on the waterfront since 2011. After billions of dollars were cut from the Navy’s budget, ships such as the George H.W. Bush were forced to prolong their time in the shipyards, which had a ripple effect down the line. If the Bush had left the shipyard on time, she would have relieved the Ike in the Gulf or the Mediterranean, officials tell Fox News.
The Fox News report, which was factually correct at the time, was quickly picked up by a number of fringe publications that suggested Obama had recalled all aircraft carriers to possibly intentionally leave the U.S. and its allies vulnerable to attacks from abroad.
And if rumors that Obama recalled all aircraft carriers sound familiar, it might be because of viral (mostly false) rumors from 2013 in which photos supposedly showed five nuclear-powered aircraft carriers moored together at Naval Station Norfolk.
The U.S. has 10 active aircraft carriers and we did a quick search to determine the status of each one. This can be difficult as the Navy is sometimes guarded about plans for deployment, but we were able to get information from recent reports on all 10 aircraft carriers. The idea at the time was that Obama was intentionally or naively leaving U.S. aircraft carriers vulnerable to attacks.
This time we tried to find a recent update on all 10 active U.S. aircraft carriers. And, again, while it was true that none of them were deployed at the time of the Fox News report, the USS Carl Vinson has since departed for Pacific deployment. And the USS George HW Bush is currently readying for imminent deployment to the Middle East. Here’s a review of all 10 aircraft carriers:
- The USS John C. Stannis was spotted headed south on December 23, 2016, off the coast of Washington. The carrier had been in Hawaii for the observance of the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks and was headed to Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Washington, for maintenance.
- The USS George Washington returned to port at the Newport News Shipyard on December 17, 2016, for a ground-up overhaul. The 25-year-old ship was taken out of commission to be gutted, rebuilt and modernized, which was called routine midlife maintenance.
- The USS Harry Truman returned to its homeport at Naval Station Norfolk on December 23, 2016, after completing an 8-month deployment in the Persian Gulf and off the coasts of Africa and Europe, Military.com reports.
- The USS Ronald Reagan returned to Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan on November 16, 2016, after a 3-month patrol in the western Pacific, Stars and Stripes reports.
- The USS George HW Bush returned to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for maintenance in June 2015, it departed for sea trials in July 2016, and the carrier war reportedly being readied to deploy to the Middle East to support airstrikes against ISIS at the end of December 2016.
- The USS Abraham Lincoln completed a four-year, $4 billion ground-up overhaul in 2016, and its crew had started moving back aboard by February 2016. We couldn’t find any status about the ship’s status or scheduled deployment at the time of publication — and the Navy can be tight-lipped about these things.
- As of December 30, 2016, crew aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt were conducting exercises in the U.S. 3rd fleet area — 50 million square miles of eastern and northern Pacific Ocean — following its six-month Planned Incremental Availability.
- The USS Carl Vinson departed for deployment in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region on January 3, 2017. The strike group was expected to conduct exercises in “anti-submarine warfare, maneuvering drills, gunnery exercises, and board, search and seizure subject matter expert exchanges,” the Navy said in a statement.
- The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to its homeport of Norfolk Naval Shipyard on December 30, 2016, Richmond.com reports.
- The USS Nimitz was expected to depart on its first deployment in three years in 2017. It’s expected to depart Naval Base Kitsap-Bremrton in early summer 2017 after undergoing 22 months of maintenance and modernization, the Kitsap Sun reports.
So, while reports about Obama recalling all aircraft carriers were briefly true, at least one aircraft carrier has since departed for deployment. That’s why we’re calling this one truth and outdated.